87 • Large Standing Stucco Bodhisattva Siddhartha

Greater Gandhara / Central Asia, 3rd–4th century AD
Size: 172 cm high

This remarkable life-size image of Bodhisattva Siddhartha shows him in a princely form with a spiritual smile. He is wearing a crown and a choker encrusted with cabochon gems. He is wearing a very tight silky tunic where the folds of the drapery have been skilfully crafted by a master craftsman. Bodhisattva is resting his left hand on his waist and his left foot is slightly forward. He is wearing sandals and his right hand, which is now missing, would usually be in a position of Abhayamudra (gesture of reassurance: right arm raised, palm turns outwards while addressing the audience). The technique of making a sculpture like this is known from Gandhara to Central Asia. The excavations in Uzbekistan revealed a large number of sculptures from the early Kushana period made with this technique. First the sculpture was made of a fine local clay and then a very thin layer of stucco lime plaster to achieve a very smooth surface was added on top. Finally the sculpture was painted with natural pigments which have been preserved in their original form. The features of the sculpture are typical of Gandharan style. This is a very rare representation of Prince Siddhartha, there are few sculptures in schist and stucco preserved in different museums around the world.