Head of Buddha - ROM2017_16097_30


Head of Buddha

Medium:Carved grey schist
Geography: Gandhara, Pakistan
Date: 3rd century AD
Period: Kushan Period
27.5 x 17 x 16 cm
Object number: 939.17.18
Credit Line: This purchase was made possible with the support of The Reuben Wells Leonard Bequest Fund.
Not on view
DescriptionThis superbly carved head of the Buddha shows him as a beautiful youth in meditative tranquility. The head is gently rounded in the cheeks and chin and supports long, gently waving hair flowing back from the center of the forehead. The Buddha's gently arched eyebrows and long straight nose give him a noble, refined air. His almond-shaped eyes are nearly closed in meditation. Broken at neck, was once part of a full standing figure. The Buddha is shown with his requisite marks of an enlightened being. The mound at top of his head, the ushnisha, signifies the Buddha's omniscience. His halo, now missing but indicated by the flat break at the back of the head, symbolizes the Buddha's status. His urna, the tuft of hair in the middle of the forehead, is another auspicious mark of a fully enlightened being. His elongated earlobes, where the heavy earrings of a prince once were, are a reminder of the Buddha's renunciation. The Buddha was born as an Indian prince in the 5th century BCE, but renounced his kingdom to seek truth through spiritual practice and meditation. After realizing the truth to end suffering through detachment, he taught others the way. His teachings spread throughout Asia, and are the basis of the Buddhist religion and philosophy. The Gandhara region in modern day Pakistan and Afghanistan is famous for Buddhist art produced from the 1st to 4th centuries CE. Considered part of the Kushan Empire, the region was a central crossroads for trade, particularly along the silk routes linking Asia to the West. The unique and prolific artistic tradition of the area provided the first images of the Buddha in human form. Gandhara sculpture combines Indian iconography with Greek, Roman, and Parthian stylistic features. The absorption and reinvention of styles is a key feature of Gandharan art.
South Asia
If you see an error or have additional information, please contact us by clicking here.