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Kushan Panel with the god Zeus/Serapis/Ohrmazd and worshiper
Afghanistan, 3rd century A.D.

Panel with the god Zeus/Serapis/Ohrmazd and worshiper
Period: Kushan
Date: ca. 3rd century A.D.
Geography: Bactria
Culture: Kushan
Medium: Terracotta, gouache
Dimensions: H. 56.8 cm, W. 52.3 cm, D. 5.4 cm
Weight: 43 lbs
Classification: Ceramics-Paintings
Credit Line: Purchase, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Gift, 2000
Accession Number: 2000.42.2
Provenance: By 1932, collection of Yamanaka & Co., Osaka; acquired by the Museum in 2000, purchased from Isao Kurita, Japan.

This rare Central Asian votive panel depicts a deity (with nimbus) being approached by a male 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. A majestic figure with a full beard and long wavy hair, who has been identified as the supreme deity Zeus/Serapis/Ohrmazd, receives a suppliant in the characteristic Iranian short tunic and leggings, hands clasped in adoration. Here, the rich intercultural style that developed in the Kushan realm is 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, .3, .4), on the interior walls of a sanctuary, perhaps a family shrine.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

See also Scenes from the life of the Buddha, Kushan Gandhara, Pakistan or Afghanistan, late 2nd-early 3rd century AD. Free Gallery of Asian Art, Smithsonian, F1949.9a-d.
Kushan Statue of Kanishka, Mathura, India, mid 2nd century AD
Back to Scythian, Saka, Kushan and Sarmatian Illustrations of Costume and Soldiers

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