Meiji Bijutsu

Remarkable Head of Buddha, Gandhara, 4-5th century

Remarkable Head of Buddha, Gandhara, 4-5th century

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Directory: Hidden: Viewable: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1280616
Meiji Bijutsu
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Kita-aoyama 3-14-1
Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

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This exceptional artifact, a sculpted head of Buddha comes from the ancient kingdom of Gandhara (current Eastern Afghanistan~Northern Pakistan), which lasted from the first millennium BC to the 11th century AD. That kingdom was located in a region that has known many influences throughout its history; it was the easternmost part of Alexander the Great’s empire, and at his peak during from the 1st century to the 5th century, Gandhara was ruled by kings who were devoted Buddhists, the Kushan kings, and under whom a wonderful fusion of Greek and Buddhist art was allowed to flourish.

This particular sculpture is a rare example of the genre, as it still shows extensive decoration with pigments of different colors on the face, the ears, the hair and the ushnisha (topknot). The colored lines highlight a gracefully shaped head, which radiates an aura of serene elegance and balance, timeless and ephemeral at once.

The head is made of stucco, and, as can be seen on the pictures, over time, the fragile effigy has been damaged in the back. A few innocent hairlines are also visible.

The sculpture comes with its heavy metallic stand.
Dimensions: 21.5 (h) x 13 cm (8.6 x 5.2 in), with stand 31.5 cm (12.6 in)

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