India, Gandhara, Kushan Period / Adoring Attendant from a Buddhist Shrine / c. 4th-5th CenturyIndia, Gandhara, Kushan Period
Adoring Attendant from a Buddhist Shrine
c. 4th-5th Century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Indian Sub-Continent; Indian
Creator Name-CRT: India, Gandhara, Kushan Period
Title: Adoring Attendant from a Buddhist Shrine
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 280
Creation End Date: 519
Creation Date: c. 4th-5th Century
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: Stucco
Dimensions: Overall: 54.6cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1943.395
Credit Line: Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund
Style or Period: India, Gandhara, Kushan Period
Context: The stucco technique, which uses plaster with a slaked lime, gypsum, or chalk base, came to India from ancient Alexandria, via Iran. Stucco sculptures, especially larger ones, are composed of sand, clay, and pebbles mixed with lime and straw (or animal hair) to form a core over which a layer of the plaster mixture is applied. Molds were frequently used for smaller heads, or faces alone, while the body and hair were usually hand-fashioned. Stucco heads are the most frequent survivors because they were made separately in the round and attached to the bodies with wood pegs or straw. Relief figures, however, which needed the support of a solid wall, usually perished with the monuments they decorated and are now rare. As a rule, stucco sculpture was painted with basic colors. The stucco technique was popular in Gandhara and made contemporaneously with schist sculpture, although relatively few stucco examples of an early date survive. Its use grew in popularity during the later period, around the fourth to fifth centuries, in areas such as Hadda or Taxila where stone was not readily available.The figure here represents an attendant, originally probably worshiping an image of Buddha. He may be a donor wearing the attire of a princely personage, the same as one finds in images of bodhisattvas. He is seated in the posture of reverence, his hands folded in the namaskara mudra (the gesture of greeting), in three-quarter view facing right and focusing his attention on the now-missing image that he worshiped. His elaborate attire consists of a dhoti (loin cloth), an upper garment, and lavish ornaments: a torque (short necklace) and a long necklace made of several strings joined together, armlets, bracelets, and a tiara. The last is embossed with jewels, some of whichhave now fallen off, as have some of the curls of the hair. The top of his headgear is also missing, and the fingers of his hands are broken.The sculpture is made in high relief, creating a sense of three-dimensionality although it was once attached to awall and no doubt formed part of a larger composition. The softness of stucco gave the artist a great degree of flexibility, as is evident in the drapery treatment. The fine diaphanous texture of the fabric is implied through the modeling of the body under the garment and is further underlined by the fluent and naturalistic pattern in which the folds are gathered. Traces of red paint are visible on the garments, the tiara, the lips, and the outlines of the eyes. S.C.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1943.395
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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