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Title: The Painting of the "Hunter-King" at Kakark: Royal Figure or Divine Being?
Authors: Compareti, Matteo
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: Padova, Studio Editoriale Gordini
Abstract: One of the paintings from the 7th century Buddhist site of Kakrak (region of Bāmyān, Afghanistan) portrays a nimbed hunter holding a bow and sitting on a throne. A dog is placed in the lower part of the throne and two white animals partially show in the higher part of the same seat. His attributes and the triple-crescent crown intimated a royal figure fond of hunting: which explains the epithet of "Hunter-King" used in the past. Among the most recent studies, U. Jäger proposed to interpret the painting as the symbolic portrait of a nobleman converted to Buddhism, in whose iconography local and nomadic royal elements are mixed. His interpretation might be correct; but the local iconographical elements are, in all likelihood, features taken from the figure of Tištrya, the Zoroastrian rain god who was confused with the planet Mercury. Another possibility is that the so-called "Hunter-King" is actually a personification of the planet Mercury in the act of submitting to the Buddha close to him in the same painting.
Appears in Collections:Annali di Ca' Foscari. Serie orientale

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