votive figure

Gandharan terracotta figure of a seated Buddha.

A small sculpture of the Buddha, in light red terracotta, the figure seated in padmasana, the 'lotus' or meditation posture. The Buddha, sculpted in a kind of 'Gandharan' style, in a pleated robe with a bare right shoulder, is seated on a small lotus throne, broadly in an oval frame outlined in the terracotta matrix of the sculpture. He wears a string of beads around his neck, an unusual feature. The whole figure may have been mould made, with the image impressed into a rectangular lump of clay. The back of the piece is plain though bearing what may be the finger impressions of its craftsman. The base consists simply of a flat plate carved from the original clay lump, allowing the finished object to stand vertically. This is undeniably a votive object, highly portable and so likely either made for personal use, though also, possibly, as a temple offering. This intact small Buddha image is a rare object. This one may be the only example in the UK, and there is certainly not one in the much larger BM Gordon group. Marked on the back in black ink with 'SB' (probably Sari Bahlol, Charsadda District, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan). Archaeological context: presumably unstratified and from a surface collection. Early Historic Period, circa 1st to 3rd centuries CE. Given by Col D H Gordon (1952/3).

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