Miniature Head of a Bodhisattva

Miniature Head of a Bodhisattva

1st Century

Red Sikri sandstone

Overall: 8.7 cm (3 7/16 in.)

Bequest of Mrs. Severance A. Millikin 1989.345

Description

Against the backdrop of the large-scale monumental sculpture for which the Mathura school is justly noted, this miniature head may appear insignificant, however, it exemplifies on a much reduced, diminutive scale qualties of style and execution that not only parallel developments noticeable on monumental sculpture but also reflect a certain freedom of treatment of facial details that clearly denotes that while the artist worked in a minor key, the creation was neither inconsequential nor a sequacious rendering of the major sculptural trends of large-scale sculptures from Mathura.

Although this head is small, a sense of volume and mass is conveyed by such details as the bulky earrings, the protruding flower-like cocade of the turban, and the reduction of linear detailing in defining these ornaments and the facial areas. The unridged brows, the generous curves of the jawline and neck, and the soft modulations of the chin and cheeks belie the diminutiveness of the whole. At the same time, the large almond-shaped eyes and the compressed angularity of the upper lip individualize this penvise Bodhisattva head. The modeling and the turban type with the oversized cockade suggest a date for it in the pre-Kaniska phase of the first-century sculptures from Mathura.

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