124. An Important Oval Bronze Portable Buddhist Shrine

Gandhara, 2nd century AD 
Size: 8.5 × 12.5 cm

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Although usually described as a cosmetic dish, the obvious impracticality involved, along with the inevitable smearing of the Buddha with lipstick and kohl, make the portable shrine theory much more likely. Moreover, apart from being the only known example of its kind in bronze, it is one of the earliest representations from Gandhara of Prince Siddhartha in his palace. He is shown seated with his left hand raised addressing an attendant sitting at his left side, and is recognisable due to his Brahmanical top-knot. His wife Yasodhara is seated next to him, holding a mirror and with a bird by her side.