These five figures are enough to explain the significant art of Afghanistan. It is really wonderful to know how the artist could draw so minute details in the figures which were inspired and associated with multiple cultures.
Bodhisattva Figure 650 AD
This aesthetic Bodhisattva sculpture with the height: 72 cm / 2 ft 4/4 was made by terracotta. It is dated back to 650 A.D and currently present in Musée Guimet, Paris for visitors.
The Gandharan school of Buddhist sculpture lasted the Kushan dynasty (first to third century AD) and the fifth- century AD. It continued to evolve in pockets of Afghanistan and Kashmir until about the seventh century.
This bodhisattva sits in a pose of mannered elegance. His fleshy, the large featured face shows clear links with Kashmiri sculpture, his exaggerated brows arching over a broad forehead, his heavy-lidded, almond-shaped eyes gazing compassionately outwards, and his full mouth and small chin giving way to the soft folds of his neck.
The body and limbs are softly twisted. A languorous stylization showed in particular in the elongated curves of the fingers and toes, echoing the loose flow of his robes.
Who is Bodhisattva
In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is any person who is on the path towards Buddhahood. Anyone who has made a resolution to become a Buddha and has also received a confirmation or prediction from a living Buddha that this will be so.
The Genius of Flowers 400 AD
This beautifully crafted sculpture of Gandharan deity with the H: 55 cm /1 ft 10 in made by Stucco. It is dated back to 400 A.D and currently present in Musée Guimet, Paris for the visitors.
Buddhist culture and art flourished across the Gandhara region at the crossroads of Asia in modern north Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan, between the first and sixth centuries AD.
This image comes from the monastery of Tapa-Kalan at Hadda, near Jalalabad, one of many monastic sites in the Kabul valley. It depicts a Buddhist deva or celestial being, one of a pair holding flower petals to scatter over a Buddha image alongside.
Many such stuccoes are enlivened with painted details. This vivid, expressive figure is striking for its deeply Hellenizing character, long after the decline of the Indo-Greek Bactrian kingdoms in the northwest of India and Central Asia.
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Begram Box Lid 150 A.D
A great hoard of objects, possibly trades sixteenth century, though ivory carving goods, was found at Begram (ancient was probably widespread in ancient Kapisha) near Kabul in 1938-1939, the diverse origins of which testify the wide trading connections of this region under the Kushan empire in the first three centuries AD.
Although it is not known for certain where this box lid was made, the four women with full figures and abundant jewelry, two playing with a bird and two applying make-up, are very similar to stone sculptures produced across northern and central India between 200 BC to 200 AD.
This box cover is one of many ivory objects excavated alongside Hellenistic bronzes from Greece, lacquer from Han China and abundant Roman glass.
Bimaran Reliquary 50 A.D
The practice of relic veneration has been central to the maintenance and spread of Buddhism for more than two millennia. Relics of the Buddha whether bodily relics or relics of use, such as his robe or bowl are considered to embody his “living presence’ and are often placed inside brick or stone-faced burial mounds called stupas.
This stunning gold reliquary inset with garnets was found in a turned steatite globular casket within Stupa 2 at Bimaran in eastern Afghanistan. An inscription on the stone casket mentioned that the reliquary contained bone fragments of the Buddha, but when the stupa was excavated in the nineteenth century the gold lid and the bone were missing.
Four coins dated AD 50 were found near the reliquary and suggest that this beautiful object is of similar date. Its style is Gandharan, with a distinctly Hellenistic Greek aesthetic.
The importance of the reliquary lies in the depiction of the two standing Buddhas in the gesture of reassurance (Abhaya mudra), and attendant images of the gods Brahma and Indra within a series of eight ogee arches.
Pompeii Lakshmi 79 A.D
The existence of this statuette in Pompeii by 79 CE, when Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the city, testifies to the intensity of Indo-Roman trade relations during the 1st century CE. This statuette has been dated by the Naples National Archaeological Museum as having been created in India in the first half of that century.
Standing at 0.25 m. high the statuette is nearly naked apart from her narrow girdle and lavish jewels as well as an elegant hairstyle. She has two female servants, one facing outward on each side, holding cosmetics vessels. The statuette has a hole bored down from the top of her head. There is the theory that its purpose may have been a mirror handle.
Statue of Buddha and Hercules 200-300 CE
This is an amazing piece that depicts the way of thinking of the people who lived between the 2nd and 3rd century CE. In this piece, the Ngarharan artist has used his /and or her power of imagination to put the favorite characters of the ancient world together.
The above sculptural group was known as the “Hadda Triad.” It was excavated at the Hadda site of Tapa-i-Shotor and represents Buddha surrounded by perfectly Hellenistic Heracles and Tyche holding a cornucopia. The only adaptation of the Greek iconography is that the Hercules holds the thunderbolt of Vajrapani rather than his usual club. It was dated at about 2nd-5th century CE. This statue was destroyed in the 1990s by the Taliban. Only photographs and illustrations survive.