Terracotta head of a bodhisattva


British Museum

British Museum

South of the Kashmir valley, Akhnur in the area of Jammu has produced a number of small terracottas, mostly detached heads that were probably made in the sixth century AD. They have the sensitivity and modelling of the best late Gandharan stuccoes (known from sites like Hadda in the fourth century AD). At the same time, the full lips, the tight snail shell curls of hair visible over his ears and wrapped below the turban and soft, rounded contours of the face show the influence of Gupta India.Most heads from Akhnur tend to share these features of a plump face with elaborate hairstyles. While there is no definite way to identify these heads, we do know that they come from a Buddhist context and figures adorned with jewellery and turbans such as this, are almost invariably those of bodhisattvas.

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  • Title: Terracotta head of a bodhisattva
  • Date Created: 600/799
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 9.65cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: hand-modelled
  • Subject: bodhisattva
  • Registration number: 1936,0114.1
  • Place: Found/Acquired Akhnur
  • Material: terracotta
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Latifi, Alma