The Joy of Museums

Finding Meaning in Art & History

Seated Buddha from Gandhara

Seated Buddha, British Museum 1

“The Seated Buddha from Gandhara” is a statue of the Buddha discovered at the site of ancient Gandhara in modern-day Pakistan. Like other Gandharan or Greco-Buddhist art, 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.

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. The statue was made in the 2nd or 3rd century and although Buddha lived in the 4th century before Christ this is an early and rare example.

The statue was carved in very fine detail. The pose, which was to become one of several standard ones and shows Buddha as a teacher sitting on a platform or throne. On the front of the throne there are much smaller figures of a bodhisattva with a turban and halo, flanked by kneeling figures of a male and female probably representing donor portraits of a couple who paid for the statue.

Seated Buddha, British Museum

The drapery folds are carved in well-rounded ridges and terraces that smooth out at the knees and shoulders. The neckline is in high relief with a plunging and a semi-circular edge that is echoed as the robe overlaps the seat.

Facts:

  • Title:                  Seated Buddha from Gandhara
  • Material:           Schist, a metamorphic rock
  • Size:                   H: 95 cm; W: 53 cm; D: 24 cm
  • Created:            c. 2nd – 3rd Century AD
  • Discovered:      Jamal Garhi, Gandhara, Pakistan
  • Museum:          The British Museum

~~~

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” Buddha

~~~

_________________________________________________________________

Photo Credit: 1) Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net). [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 2) Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net). [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons