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HOME : Asian Art : Gandharan Artefacts : Gandhara Stucco Head of the Buddha
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Gandhara Stucco Head of the Buddha - PF.6208
Origin: Afghanistan/Pakistan
Circa: 1 st Century AD to 4 th Century AD
Dimensions: 6" (15.2cm) high
Collection: Asian
Medium: Stucco


Location: UAE
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Description
The ancient civilization of Gandhara thrived in the region encompassing modern northeastern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan. Situated at a confluence of trading paths along the Silk Route, the area was flooded in diverse cultural influences ranging from Greece to China. Gandhara flourished under the Kushan Dynasty and their great king, Kanishka, who is traditionally given credit for spreading the philosophies of Buddhism throughout central Asia and into China. This period is viewed as the most important era in the history of Buddhism. After the conquests of Alexander the Great, the creation of Greco-Bactrian kingdoms, and the general Hellenization of the subcontinent, Western aesthetics became prominent. Greek influence began permeating into Gandhara. Soon sculptors based the images of the Buddha on Greco-Roman models, depicting Him as a stocky and youthful Apollo, complete with long-nobed ears and loose monastic robes similar to a Roman toga. The extraordinary artistic creations of Gandhara reveal a link between the different worlds of the East and West.

The historical figure, Buddha Gautama Sakyamuni is the Buddha of compassion who, having achieved the highest evolutionary perfection, turns suffering into happiness for all living beings. Born around 560 B.C. somewhere between the hills of south Nepal and the Rapti River, his father was a Raja who ruled over the northeastern province of India, the district including the holy Ganges River. The young prince was married to Yashoda when he was about 17 years old and together they had a son named Rahula. At the age of 29, he left his life of luxury, as he felt compelled to purify his body and make it an instrument of the mind by ridding himself of earthly impulses and temptations. This sculptural fragment depicts the bust of the Buddha. An inner calm and complacency is visible in his sweet smile. His ear droops down, pulled from the weight of heavy earrings he once wore in his aristocratic youth. His hair is rendered in curly waves. Some of the original pigment that once decorated this work is still visible, specifically along his eyebrows. This gorgeous head is a reminder of an ancient civilization that, although vanished, helped spread the teachings of enlightenment throughout the heart of Asia.
- (PF.6208)

 

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