Stair Riser with Marine Deities or Boatmen

Date: ca. 1st century

Culture: Pakistan (ancient region Gandhara (Swat Valley?)

Medium: Serpentinite

Dimensions: H. 6 5/8 in. (16.8 cm); W. 17 in. (43.2 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1913

Accession Number: 13.96.21


This sculpture and the triangular side relief (13.96.19) are part of a set of twenty-one panels that embellished the stairway of a stupa, likely on the western end of the Swat Valley. The treatment of the anatomy of these athletic men is interesting in terms of both the naturalism and schematization of the musculature. The oars they carry and the acanthus leaves that appear to grow out of their bodies suggest that they are marine deities.