Bacchanalian Relief

Bacchanalian Relief

AD 1-100

Part of a set. See all set records


Overall: 49.6 x 150.5 cm (19 1/2 x 59 1/4 in.); First Section: 17.1 x 44.5 cm (6 3/4 x 17 1/2 in.); Second Section: 16.5 x 53 cm (6 1/2 x 20 7/8 in.); Third Section: 16 x 53 cm (6 5/16 x 20 7/8 in.)

Dudley P. Allen Fund 1930.328


Phrygians with their trousers, tunics, and conical caps play music, dance, and clap, while Greek figures drink from fluted cups filled with wine decanted from pitchers filled from a wine skin, shown hefted on the shoulders of the figure at the right. The multicultural diversity of the region became pronounced after Alexander of Macedon left a contingent of Greeks to rule the territories of present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan. After the waning of the Hellenistic kingdoms in the first century BC, Scythians and Parthians from Central Asian and Iran took control of the region. By the first century AD, trade between the Roman Empire, India, and China had reached unprecedented proportions, bringing wealth and international merchants to the area. A procession of people clapping, blowing a long horn, dancing, and carrying grapes once adorned a Buddhist monument in a region that had Greco-Roman roots extending back to 326 BC, with the arrival of Alexander of Macedon and his successors. Bacchanalian scenes were carved on the lower portions of public monuments to reference the joyful abundance of life, which may well be enhanced with veneration of the monument and donations to the monastery with which it was associated.

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Credit line: 
Dudley P. Allen Fund

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