Proto-Gandharan Garland Holder


A Proto-Gandharan relief fragment, beautifully carved in grey schist and depicting a garland holder. He takes the form of a winged male figure, shown waist upwards, and holds a round-shaped item in both hands to his chest. This auspicious figure is portrayed wearing a turban wrapped around his head, while his neck is adorned with necklaces. Facial features (including eyes, lips, eyebrows, and moustache) are finely modelled, making the figure strongly expressive. Finely rendered acanthus leaves further enrich the composition. Garland holders were affixed to the drums of stupas to support garlands of flowers.

Date: Circa 1st Century BC - 1st Century AD
Condition: Fine, with signs of aging and earthly encrustations on the surface.


This interesting and unusual piece can be dated to the beginning of Gandharan art, more precisely to the Indo-Parthian domination. Gandharan art is easily recognisable by its subject matter, but also by its form, which tends to be strongly influenced by Greek aesthetic canons. Proto-Gandharan pieces, such as this one, display a particular style, influenced less by Greek forms and more by Indo-Parthian art. The Parthians, taking control of Eastern India in the first century BC, ended the last remnants of Greek rule. However, they continued to support Greek artistic traditions, paving the way for the development of so-called ‘Graeco-Buddhist art’. This was known afterwards as Gandharan art, which enjoyed its most florid period between the second and fourth century AD.


Weight 5000.00 g
Dimensions H 28.00 cm



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