- Museum number
- Object: The Great Renunciation.
Rectangular panel showing the Great Renunciation; flanked by pilasters.
The haloed Bodhisattva is seated on the bed, his hair in a chignon tied at its base and one leg pendent; he raises his right hand while his groom approaches carrying a turban. He wears a paridhāna and the uttarīya leaves the chest almost bare, except for a necklace with one pendant and a collar with pendants of various shapes. His wife is asleep on the bed with one hand under her head on the pillow, the arm grasped by the other hand; she is bare to the waist and wears multiple bracelets, a necklace, long earrings, a wreath of floral pattern and, under her lower garment, anklets.
At the right a female guard with spear, eyes closed in sleep, wears a long-sleeved tunic, a necklace and a semi-circular ornament above her forehead. Below, head buried in her arms which she supports on a banded barrel drum, a sleeping attendant with anklets, a long-sleeved tunic with a beaded strip down the side and over it a girdle with ornamental plates securing her paridhāna, part of which is drawn up between her legs into the girdle at the back, sits on a low circular cushion; she wears a densely segmented wreath headdress and a large loop of hair at the back of the head. Another attendant squats frontally, wreathed head supported on her arms and resting between her elbows on her knees. Her legs, spread wide under her garment, have large anklets. Another attendant, dressed like the first with a segmented wreath headdress but a very long braid and anklets, sits with her back to the viewer and supports herself on a large and flat cushion. The groom Chandaka, with a moustache, leans forward behind the couch and deferentially presents a crested turban with bands and the piriform frontal ornament, himself wearing a crested turban, uttarīya, paridhāna, necklace, earring and armlet in three lobes.
The couch consists of a mattress, pillows with a raised band on the side and a patterned textile with bands of open flowers, scrolling, crossed and hatched zones hanging between the hidden legs. A slender pillar behind supports an oil-lamp and across the back hangs a curtain.
The prominent double-framed flanking columns have a Corinthian capital in distinct upper and lower parts, while the base mouldings, unusually, are of Attic type with a scotia. A plain fillet frames the bottom of the panel.
- Production date
Diameter: 6.50 centimetres
Height: 26 centimetres
Width: 46.70 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Zwalf 1996:
Although this piece was conceived in a larger and less populated frame and carved with far less precision and delicacy than BM 1900.0414.12, the treatment of the sharply outlined, open eyes of the male figures, the closed eyes of the women, the shape of the heads and the flat execution of the faces are very similar.
The Bodhisattva's revulsion in the women's quarters before the Renunciation occurs in the more developed sources which describe the repellent dishevelled postures of the sleeping women musicians, the Bodhisattva's sense of a burial or cremation ground and his summoning Chandaka and Kaṇṭhaka. A similar tradition is in the Jātaka Introduction where 'the mother of Rāhula' and the child are in the next room.
The scenes of the Great Renunciation among the Women usually show the haloed Bodhisattva seated on a couch and turned to his right while a woman, presumably his wife, lies sleeping on it, head to the right, as women musicians sprawl below with their instruments. Chandaka enters from the left with the turban as here or with both horse and turban. The Bodhisattva is usually with his hair in a chignon, but on Peshawar 1718 he is standing and wears a turban in front of Chandaka and Kaṇṭhaka. Sleeping musicians may also be few or wholly absent, but flanking female guards are common and attendants or spectators are present too. A spouted water pot also appears here.
- On display (G33/dc51a/s3)
- 1.Light grey-green schist, broken and rejoined from two pieces.
2.Top flat with chisel marks and rectangular tenons to both sides; both sides rebated behind and flat and smooth; bottom flat, partly smooth and with rectangular tenons to both sides.
3.Back roughly flat with some chisel marks.
- Associated events
- Associated Event: Great Renunciation (Mahabhinishkramana)
- Acquisition date
- Registration number