Exquisite marble head, sculpted in the round. Oval
face with large, almond eyes beneath curving brow,
slender triangular nose and small mouth;
surmounted by turban.
One can discern in the arresting physiognomy
precursory elements of a set of ideals that came to
characterize portraiture in this region over the next
few hundred years. For example, the almond eyes,
nose, mouth and elongated earlobes would in time
become part of a formula used extensively on
portraits of Buddha.
Not only do we get an idea as to the evolution of the
artistic vocabulary – this piece attesting its
formation - but also see influence across a vast
Afghanistan sits at a confluence of trading routes
along the silk route. A gateway to India, carrying
trade and migration from the Mediterranean to
The conquests of Alexander the Great in 330 BCE set
in motion a chain of successive empires in the
region, all of which left their imprint in art. What
emerges is an artistic canon that incorporates Greek,
Hindu and Buddhist influences.
The head of this royal, while depicted with turban
and true to local tradition is rendered in line with
the distinct Greco-Buddhist iconography that
typifies art of this period following the spread of
Greek influence throughout the subcontinent.