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HOME : Asian Art : Gandharan Artefacts : Gandhara Head of a Buddha
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Gandhara Head of a Buddha - PF.5702
Origin: Afghanistan
Circa: 200 BC to 300 AD
Dimensions: 6.5" (16.5cm) high x 4.125" (10.5cm) wide
Collection: Asain
Style: Gandharan
Medium: Stucco

Location: United States
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The ancient civilization of Gandhara thrived in the region of northeastern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan. Situated at a confluence of trading paths along the Silk Route, the area was flooded in cultural influences ranging from Greece to China. Gandhara flourished under the Kushan Dynasty and their great king, Kanishka, who traditionally given credit for further 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 aesthetical tastes became prominent. Greek influence began to permeate 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-lobed ears and loose monastic robes similar to a Roman toga. The extraordinary artistic creations of Gandhara reveal link between the different worlds of the East and West.

This sculptural fragment depicts the bust of the Buddha as a young man, perhaps a prince. His curly hair is wrapped in a headband and falls out at the sides. He wears heavy earrings that pull down on his lobe. His facial features have been smoothly defined, including his arching brows and recessed chin. Perhaps the most stunning aspect of the sculpture is the pointed eye. They protrude from his face like shells. Perhaps he is supposed to be tightly clinching his eyes closed in deep meditation. Above all, this small stucco Buddha head is a testament to the awesome creative powers of Gandhara artists.
- (PF.5702)


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