Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Panel fragment with the god Shiva/Oesho

ca. 3rd century A.D.
Terracotta, gouache
H. 57.2 cm, W. 41.6 cm, D. 5.7 cm
Credit Line:
Gift of Isao Kurita, 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 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. Along with the hands of a missing worshiper, the god Siva/Oesho is depicted. Four-armed and three-headed, with a prominent third eye, he wears an animal skin and a belted, diaphanous garment and holds a trident. Here, the rich intercultural style that developed in the Kushan realm is most 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, .2, .3), on the interior walls of a sanctuary, perhaps a family shrine.
By 1932, collection of Yamanaka & Co., Osaka; acquired by the Museum in 2000, gift of Isao Kurita.

“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, pp. 84-85, fig. 66.

Baumer, Christoph. 2014. The History of Central Asia. Volume 2: The Age of the Silk Roads. London and New York: I. B. Tauris, p. 56, fig. 36.
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