Bas-relief of the Gandhāra


Ancient province of Gandhāra

2nd-3rd century

30cm or 11 inch



This elegant bas-relief is decorated with two figures standing on a lotus flower. On the left, the figure is dressed like an Indian prince, adorned with many ornaments and jewels. His hair is rolled up in a bun with wavy strands, characteristic of Gandhāra art, as are the folds of the drapery that follow his body, recalling the Hellenistic influences of this region. These different elements suggest that he is a bodhisattva, a being of compassion helping sentient beings to attain enlightenment.

In a position of prayer, he is facing a second figure, who also has his hands joined. Completely naked except for a turban, the latter is in a dynamic position, which adds movement to this bas-relief. The two figures are surmounted by architectural elements testifying to the strong influence of Greek art, first as a result of the conquests of Alexander the Great, then to the commercial exchanges made possible by the Silk Road.

This bas-relief testifies to the syncretic strength of Gandhāra art. The fineness of the details carved in the stone offers a harmonious rendering..