Hellenistic Sculptures from the Temple of Oxus. Portraits

Litvinsky Boris A.

The excavations of the temple of Oxus in Southern Tajikistan unearthed about 8000 votive ob- jects, including a series of works of art made of gold, silver, bronze, ivory and clay. Of special in- terest are two sculptural heads (one of them gilded) with diadems. The heads are well modeled with some influence of Lysippus' school. They are dated back to the 3rd-2nd century ВС. Their attribution is disputable. One of them was believed to be a portrait of Seleucus I or Antiochus I etc. The author made a detailed comparison of the heads with coin portraits of the Seleucids and Greco-Bactrian kings, as well as with sculptural and glyptic portraits. He came to the conclusion that in spite of some resemblance it is impossible to identify the finds from the temple of Oxus with any king of these dynasties. The diadems (red, not white, as the Seleucids' crowns were) could have been granted to some of king's relatives, perhaps to the rulers of Bactria. The author also analyzes a bronze portrait medallion. It bears a profile which has some resem- blance with coin portraits of Eucratides I, but seems to be just an imitation. The medallion was undoubtedly made by a native Bactrian master. As for the ceramic head portraits, they could have been made by a Greek sculptor or a Bactrian familiar with Hellenistic portrait tradition. The finds in questions are a graphic evidence of Greco-Bactrian synthesis within the frame- work of oriental Hellenism.