Plaque with a Male Head

Plaque with a Male Head

100s

Gray schist

Overall: 7 x 7 cm (2 3/4 x 2 3/4 in.)

Bequest of Mrs. Severance A. Millikin 1989.346

Description

This small schist plaque is decorated with the bust of a man. It may have been used in several different ways—for example, like the roundels with highly projecting heads that have been reproduced by Marshall as door knockers, reverse sides of hand mirrors, and so on. Although they are made of bronze, this does not preclude that this schist plaque may have been set in a metal mount. There is also a precedence for objects of this type among the Begram plaster emblemata and terracottas, which may have served for making molds in clay, from which the metal sculpture was then made. There is even a chance that the object may have been used as a lid on a vessel and that the projecting head of the image would serve as a handle. The bust is that of a middle-aged man with his hair pulled up in a chignon. His broad face reveals the somewhat pudgy, coarse features of a well-to-do individual. He wears a scarf around his neck, tied in a knot with loosely hanging ends, the same as one finds on some sculptures of attendants of Buddha in Mathura. This seems to imply either a secular personage or possibly a Bodhisattva. The bottom edge of the bust is decorated with a bead pattern.

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