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Asian Art

Buddha

3rd century C.E.

Schist

73 × 56.7 × 16.5 cm (28 3/4 × 22 5/16 × 6 1/2 in.)
Anonymous gift
1934.146
The soft folds in the shawl covering the Buddha’s shoulder as well as his hair and facial features echo Mediterranean artistic traditions first introduced to the Gandharan region, which encompasses present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan, by Alexander the Great in the fourth century B.C.E. This Greek-inflected style of Buddhist art was popular in the region during the Kushan era (ca. 30–375 C.E.) and persisted afterward. In the case of this Buddha, the square face and the schematized rendering of the drapery, which lacks the naturalism of earlier pieces, indicate that the sculpture was produced after the Kushan rulers had lost control of the region. At that time competing entities, including the nomadic confederations known as Huns, were fighting for dominance.
Geography: 
Pakistan
Status: 
On view
Culture: 
Pakistani, Gandharan
Period: 
Kushan Empire (30–375 C.E.)
Classification: 
Sculpture
Provenance: 

Private Collection, New Haven, Conn., to 1934; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

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.