Seated cross-legged on an unadorned throne,
the Buddha is depicted in the mudra of
meditation or dhyani, a gesture indicating that
this is the Sakyamuni at the time of Great
Enlightenment. Buddha's wavy curls are
modified in the form of incisions, and his hair is
neatly tucked over the ushinisha in such a way
that it is not disguised, but rather made visible
as a sign of acculturation from the Greco-Roman
tradition to the Eastern tradition. The elongated
earlobes are incised and a line appears around
the throat where the borders of his robe gather
and drape over his narrow shoulders. The image
seeks to capture the Buddha's detached introvert
attitude of superiority over worldly things, of
immunity to all change, of inactivity, which make
him a personification of the supreme essence.
The Gandhara Buddha is among the earliest
representations of Buddha, which combine
elements of the Greco-Roman classical tradition
with Eastern iconography. This sculpture
exemplifies the artistic adaptations of craftsmen
who began this process of "Indianization,"
evidenced in the bodily appearance. While the
body retains a sense of fluidity and lightness, the
fullness of the face is more Indian, and the
voluminous monastic robe of the early Buddha
type has been conventionalized into a linear
formula in which the folds are represented by
quilted ridges applied to the surface of the body.
This is a formula that provided a model for
countless imitations of Gandhara types in Central
Asia and the Far East.