Height: 53.000 cm
Width: 27.800 cm
Gift of P.T. Brooke Sewell
Asia OA 1953.5-12.2
Room 33: Asia
Terracotta tile with crouching figures
From Harwan, Kashmir, 4th-5th century AD
Harwan is one of the earliest archaeological sites in Kashmir to yield important artistic remains. The Buddhist monastery at the site was founded under the Kushans (second century AD), and was enlarged in the period of the Hunas (mid-fifth century AD).
Of the surviving remains at Harwan, a circular chaitya (Buddhist sanctuary) is the most interesting. Terracotta tiles such as this were used to pave the floor of the courtyard. This particular type of tile however, was used at the base of a short wall that surrounded the structure. The stamped decoration on the tile shows crouching ascetics in the central band, with a row of geese below and a railing with figures above.
It was a common
sculptural formula to show conversing figures behind or over a
railing from the Satvahana period (first century AD) onwards in
India. The naturalistic treatment of the faces may be related to
Gandharan influence from the north-west. Unusually, the tiles are
all inscribed with numerals in the
D. Mitra, Buddhist monuments (Calcutta, Sahitya Samsad, 1971)