The Discovery of Two Stucco Heads of the Vidūṣaka in Gandharan Art

  • Satomi Hiyama (Author)
  • Robert Arlt (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


The vidūṣaka is a crucial character of the classic South-Asian theatre. He is often described as the buffoon (Spaßmacher, Hanswurst) of a play. His function, his social position (a brahmin), his funny looks, hairstyle, voice, suitable names, and other specific traits have been described by Bharata in the Nāṭyaśāstra. Both the textual sources and visual representations testify to the fact that this trickster of theatre pieces had been known in India much earlier than the compilation of the Nāṭyaśāstra. This short paper investigates two stucco heads excavated in the Gandharan region, which can be identified as the vidūṣaka according to the authors’ observation. This small but new finding will fill in the gap left in previous studies, that have attested to the presence of the vidūṣaka in both the theatrical and visual traditions in India and east Turkestan, yet had a large gap in the regions between.