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A Gandhara Relief of Pancika and Hariti, ca 3rd century AD - Sands of Time Ancient Art
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A Gandhara Relief of Pancika and Hariti, ca 3rd century AD

Although Buddhas and bodhisattvas are the most common subjects of the art of Gandhara, other figures not specifically related to the life of the Buddha or Buddhist ideology where also made subject of Gandhara sculpture. Two important figures that were depicted frequently are Panicka and his consort Hariti.   Here, the two figures are shown seated together on a high-backed throne, their divinity emphasized by the inclusion of the nimbus and holding their respective attributes of wealth and prosperity.  When they appear together, they also symbolize harmony in marriage.

Panicka is a god of wealth. He is usually represented as a robust, sometimes even corpulent, individual, a trait that relates to his association with abundance. Here he is shown in specifically Hellenistic guise, manifested by his curled hair, the winged cap on his head, his dress of mantle and short tunic with laced boots on his feet,  the left placed on a low footstool.  Pancika leans towards his consort, Hariti, who is resplendent in a Greco-Roman dress that accentuates her curves.  Her face, set with a gentle smile, is framed by her unusual coiffure that is secured by the flat-topped modius.   She wears a broad necklace and earrings, and holds a cornucopia overflowing with fruit, a symbol of her association with prosperity.  The debt to Graeco-Roman sculpture is visible in the high degree of naturalism with which both figures are carved, the strong sense of dynamic movement, and the deeply undercut carving that creates a palpable sense of spatial depth.

The deities relate to a relatively consistent set of secular interests which were of particular concern to the lay person -- prosperity, abundance, fertility, and wealth. Since the prosperity of the layman ensured the prosperity of the samgha, the community of Buddhist monks who received material benefit from the donations of lay Buddhist followers, Pancika and Hariti also signified the desire of the samgha for the material goods which would allow them to pursue their religious goals. (Huntington, p. 148.)

for related examples see:  Pratapaditya Pal, ' Indian Sculpture: Volume 1,' (1986), p.166.
Zwalf, W. A Catalogue of the Gandharan Sculpture in the British Museum, (1996), cat. no. 96-98.
H. Ingholt and F. Lyons, Gandharan Art in Pakistan, New York: Pantheon Books, (1957) p. 342.

Condition: fragmentary, condition commensurate with age with some minor loss to the face and nose, and wear around the edges, some mineral accretion throughout, especially to the top and bottom panels and inside the crevices, nicely carved and presents very well.   Museum quality custom mount.

Dimensions:  Width:  6 inches (15.24 cm),  Height:  8 inches (20.32 cm)

Provenance:   Private Virginia collection, acquired in the 1960's and then by descent.

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