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Buddhism along the Silk Road

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Tile Showing a Woman Carrying a Pot

Date:
5th–6th century
Culture:
India (ancient kingdom of Kashmir, Harwan)
Medium:
Terracotta
Dimensions:
H. 11 5/8 in. (29.5 cm); W. 13 3/8 in. (34 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Purchase, Gifts in memory of Anthony Gardner, 1994
Accession Number:
1994.77
  • Description

    These tiles are known to have decorated the courtyard of an apsidal temple at Harwan, in Kashmir. As this site has a Buddhist affiliation, the presence of emaciated nude ascetics is not easy to explain. In fact, they are more readily understood within the Hindu Shaivite tradition. As this mixture of Buddhist and Hindu imagery is also observed at other contemporary sites in Afghanistan and west India, these tiles appear to be part of a larger exchange that perhaps occurred in relation to the emergence of Esoteric, or Vajrayana, Buddhism. Numerals in the Kharoshthi script have been incised into the tiles, presumably as an aid to their placement.

  • See also
    What
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    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
38244

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