Panel with the god Zeus/Serapis/Ohrmazd and worshiper

ca. 3rd century A.D.
Terracotta, gouache
H. 56.8 cm, W. 52.3 cm, D. 5.4 cm
43 lbs
Credit Line:
Purchase, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Gift, 2000
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 405
This rare Central Asian votive panel depicts a deity (with nimbus) being approached by a male worshiper, probably nonroyal but portrayed as of equal stature to the god. Compositionally, they follow scenes of homage and investiture from the post-Hellenistic West and from Iran in which a king and a god appear side by side. A majestic figure with a full beard and long wavy hair, who has been identified as the supreme deity Zeus/Serapis/Ohrmazd, receives a suppliant in the characteristic Iranian short tunic and leggings, hands clasped in adoration. Here, the rich intercultural style that developed in the Kushan realm is clearly displayed: Indian divine iconography; the Iranian type of two-figured composition; and Greco-Roman naturalism in the drapery and pose, as well as in the use of light and shadow to suggest modeling. The panel has holes at the corners and was probably set up, together with three others acquired by the Museum (MMA 2000.42.1, .3, .4), on the interior walls of a sanctuary, perhaps a family shrine.
By 1932, collection of Yamanaka & Co., Osaka; acquired by the Museum in 2000, purchased from Isao Kurita, Japan.

“Glimpses of the Silk Road: Central Asia in the First Millennium,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, August 5, 2002–December 31, 2010.

Yamanaka Shōkai. 1932. Sekai kobijutsu tenrankai. Ōsaka: Yamanaka Shōkai, fig. 8.

Carter, Martha L. 1995. "Oesho and Shiva." Bulletin of the Asia Institute 9, pp. 143-157.

Carter, Martha L. 1997. "Preliminary Notes on Four Painted Terracotta Panels." South Asian Archaeology 1995: proceedings of the 13th Conference of the European Association of South Asian Archaeologists, Cambridge, 5-9 July, 1995, edited by Raymond Allchin and Bridget Allchin. Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., pp. 573-588.

Aruz, Joan. 2000. "Votive panels." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 58 (2), Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 1999-2000 (Autumn 2000), p. 15.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2000. "Departmental Accessions: Ancient Near East." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, No. 130 (Jul. 1,1999 - Jun. 30, 2000), p. 9.

Behrendt, Kurt A. 2007. The Art of Gandhara in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Haven: Yale University Press, p. 84, note 40.