India, Mathura, early Kushan period, 1st century
sandstone, Overall: 17.5 x 69 x 6.5 cm (6 7/8 x 27 1/8 x 2 1/2 in.). Gift of Maxeen and John Flower in honor of Dr. Stanislaw Czuma 2011.145
The bells are intended to evoke the sounds that once accompanied the sacred space as much as visual ornamentation. A lion and a leonine figure with a human face bound enthusiastically as part of a parade of creatures who circle the monument in the proscribed clockwise direction. The exaggerated linear outlining of their features and the flatness of their bodies are stylistic features of relief sculpture from this period. The motif in the center has vegetal fronds symmetrically springing from a lotus rosette in the form of an auspicious symbol called shrivatsa, which is also found on the chests of Jinas-liberated beings of the Jain tradition-and the Hindu god Vishnu.
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