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Queensland Art Gallery - Joy of Museums - Buddha


This Buddha is in the Gandharan or Greco-Buddhist style, the statue shows influence from Ancient Greek art. Gandhara had been part of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom established by Alexander the Great. Gandhāra was an ancient Indic kingdom situated in the north-western region of Pakistan, around Peshawar.

The statue has borrowed characteristics from Greek sculpture, which influenced Asian sculpture with wavy hair, the defined and rhythmic folds of the robe and the circular nimbus surrounding the head. This sculpture also incorporates motifs common for the period, they include:

  • an urna on the forehead, representing the third eye, a symbol of divine vision;
  • elongated ears, a feature developed by wearing heavy earrings as worn by Indian royalty;
  • a ushnisha or topknot, a three-dimensional oval at the top of the head;

Statues of the Buddha were not made until after the 1st century CE. For the first four hundred years after his death Buddha was represented by symbols alone such as his: footprint or an empty throne or Bodhi tree. This statue was made in the 2nd or 3rd century and although Buddha lived in the 4th century before Christ.

Buddhist Art

Buddhist Art is the artistic practices that are influenced by Buddhism. Buddhist art originated on the Indian subcontinent following the historical life of Siddhartha Gautama, 6th to 5th century BCE, and after that evolved by contact and interactions with other cultures and artistic traditions as it spread throughout Asia and the world.

Buddhist Art includes the depiction of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and other notable Buddhist figures, both historical and mythical.  Buddhist Art also includes narrative scenes from the lives of Buddhist figures; mandalas and other graphic aids for the practice of Buddhism; as well as objects used in the Buddhist traditions, such as vajras, bells, stupas and Buddhist temple architecture.

  • Title:               Buddha
  • Artist:             Unknown
  • Dates:             2nd – 3rd Century
  • Material:        Carved Grey Schist
  • Museum:       Queensland Art Gallery

A Tour of the Queensland Art Gallery

Explore Buddhist Art

Buddha Quotes

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”


“Give, even if you only have a little.”


“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.”


“There is no fear for one whose mind is not filled with desires.”


“Art is an illusion of spontaneity.”
– Japanese Proverb


Photo Credit: GM

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