Seated Buddha (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

2nd-3rd century
dark gray schist
near Mardan (present-day Pakistan), Gandhara, Peshawar District, India
Overall (without base): 35 1/2 × 27 3/8 × 6 1/4 in. (90.17 × 69.53 × 15.88 cm)
Overall (with base): 38 1/2 × 30 × 10 in. (97.79 × 76.2 × 25.4 cm)
Behind this Buddha's serene face is an intensity of meditative concentration strongly indicated by the flame-like striations of his hair. These almost frenetic curls climb the cranial protuberance or ushnisha that is a mark of the Buddha's superhuman wisdom. Other standard Indian iconographic conventions include his elongated earlobes, stretched by heavy gold earrings that he wore before renouncing worldly luxuries, and a circular mark or urna between his eyes that symbolizes his extraordinaryinsight. This Buddha's now-broken right hand would have been held in a gesture of reassurance. His left hand gathers a piece of his outer garment, which then cascades from his palm and spreads out on the plinth below him. The confidently renderedfolds of his toga-like robes reveal Western Classicism's impact on the art of Gandhara. Buddha images in this hybrid style would become one of India's most significant artistic exports, providing the earliest models for a long tradition of imageryin Central and East Asia.
Kushan period
Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund
Barriault, Anne B., and Kay M. Davidson. Selections from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Richmond, VA: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 2007. (pp 160-161)

Janetta Rebold Benton and Robert Di Yanni, Arts and Culture An Introduction to the Humanities (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 2005) page 286, color ill. fig. 8.6.

Robert J. Hughes, "Art & Money," The Wall Street Journal Friday, Sept. 6, 2002, p. W14, b&w ill.

Roy Proctor, "Pride & Provenance," Richmond Times-Dispatch December 29, 2002, pp. G1, G6, color ills.

"In Brief," Museum News (Washington, DC: American Asso. of Museums, Sept./Oct. 2003) p.11, color ill.

"Serene Beauty," Edward Wilkinson, Sotheby's Preview, October 2002, p. 117, color ill. p. 116.

Sotheby's Indian & Southeast Asian Art, New York, Friday September 20, 2002 sale catalogue, lot. 16, p. 24, color ills. p. 25 & cover.

Brooke Barnes, "Beauty and the Bust Half the Art Went Untouched at Top 'Asia Week' Auctions; Will the Weakness Spread?" Wall Street Journal Friday, September 27, 2002, p. B4.
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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