Seated Ascetic, Deified King, Agni (The God of Fire)
ca. 3rd century
India (Kaushambi, Uttar Pradesh)
H. 14 1/2 in. (36.8 cm); W. 6 9/16 in. (16.7 cm); D. 7 in. (17.8 cm)
Gift of Frank Weinstein, 1984
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 235
This rare and enigmatic sculpture is difficult to identify because he has the hairstyle and jewelry of a king or the god Agni but holds the flask of a Brahman ascetic and sits with a strap across his knees like a yogi. Stylistically—especially the way he holds his right hand in abhaya mudra (a gesture of approachability)—this image can be closely related to sculptures found at the site of Kaushambi. His necklace can be directly compared to known Roman examples.