Description Depicted with a serene gaze and a gentle smile, this figure may represent a Buddha or a Jina. Both Buddhas and Jinas are spiritually liberated, enlightened beings regarded as the supreme teachers and moral exemplars of their respective religious traditions. Buddhist and Jain communities thrived alongside one another in the region of Mathura (a city in north-central India) in the early first millennium, and visual representations of the beings revered by each share many features. For example, both Buddhas and Jinas have elongated earlobes, regarded as one of many auspicious physical characteristics of a great being. They are not adorned in jewelry, for both Buddhas and Jinas renounce wealth and luxury in their pursuit of spiritual freedom. When this figure was fully intact his identity would have been clearer, for the heads of Buddhas are crowned with an "ushnisha," an auspicious cranial protuberance that is absent from the Jinas of this early period.
Provenance Sale, Sotheby's, New York, September 20 1985, lot 325; Private collection; given to Walters Art Museum, 1987.
Credit Anonymous gift, 1987
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