Asian Art

Seated Buddha in Meditation

3rd century C.E.

Gray schist

73 x 56.6 cm (28 3/4 x 22 5/16 in.), 73.025 x 56.674 x 16.51 cm (28 3/4 x 22 5/16 x 6 1/2 in.)
Anonymous gift
1934.146
This sculpture of Buddha seated in meditation exemplifies the image of the Buddha that evolved in Gandhara, a region that covered parts of present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northwest India. Gandharan sculptors drew on provincial Roman sources, as well as the Hellenistic influence that resulted from Alexander the Great’s conquests in the region. Such influence can be seen in this Buddha’s monastic robe, which is rendered like a Roman toga, covering both shoulders, while the auspicious mark of superior intelligence, a cranial protuberance, is depicted naturalistically as a topknot. The yogic posture seen here, one of meditation with hands folded on the lap, is one of the great contributions of the Indian subcontinent to world art.
Culture: 
Indian, Gandharan
Period: 
Kushan period (ca. late 1st–early 4th century)
Classification: 
Sculpture
Status: 
Not on view
Bibliography: 

Harald Ingholt, Palmyrene and Gandharan Sculpture: An Exhibition Illustrating the Cultural Interrelations Between the Parthian Empire and Its Neighbors West and East, Palmyra and Gandhara, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1954), fig. 28.

Alan Shestack, ed., Yale University Art Gallery Selections (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1983), 102–103, ill.

Handbook of the Collections, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 283, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.

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