Kushan Painted Terracotta Vessel

SKU LO.602
Circa

100 BC to 300 AD

Dimensions

17.50″ (44.5cm) high x 20″ (50.8cm) wide

Medium

Terracotta

Origin

Central Asia

Gallery Location

UK


 

The ancient region of northeastern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan was situated at a confluence of trading paths along the Silk Route, an area immersed in cultural influences ranging from Greece to China. After the conquests of Alexander the Great, the creation of Greco- Bactrian kingdoms, and the general Hellenization of the subcontinent, Western aesthetic tastes became rpredominant and a Greek influence began permeating into the arts and culture. Eventually, the Bactrian Kingdom was absorbed by the nomadic Kushan tribes, who settled in the region and went on to establish their own dynasty. The area flourished under the Kushan and their greatest king, Kanishka, is traditionally given credit for further spreading the philosophies of Buddhism throughout central Asia and into China. This period is viewed as the most important era in the history of Buddhism. Large vessel of globular form, sloping shoulder, rising to a tapering neck. A vessel of such dimensions may have once contained water, wine, or even grain. The decorative style is consistent with other Kushan period works, the exterior being decorated with a lively painted scene. A frieze of native flora and fauna, with birds flying above while wild boars frolic amongst the towering flowers. The decoration may be simple embellishment, or the animal and plant imagery may symbolically refer to a particular myth or proverb. This terracotta vessel is a lovely example of Kushan art, who ruled over one of the most important stages in the early spread of Buddhism throughout the Far East.

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