The Joy of Museums

Finding Beauty & Meaning in Museums


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.

Among the many masterpieces and historical objects in the Queensland Art Gallery, the following are some highlights:

Essential Facts:

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


“Art is an illusion of spontaneity.” Japanese Proverb



Photo Credit: By GordonMakryllos (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons 2)