Head of a Buddha

  • Gandhara
  • 4-5c
  • Stucco
Catalogue Entry

Many Gandhara statues were at first carved on schists, but later, stucco statues, which are easier to make, came to be created in large numbers. The stucco technique was introduced to Central Asia by craftsmen of Greek origin following the eastern expedition of Alexander the Great. In the Gandhara region some examples are found in Taxila, but most are concentrated in Afghanistan. The stylized expression of hair “netted” on the head and the hairline, eyebrows, eyelids, and nape accentuated by lines are typical of Gandhara stucco sculpture. This head fragment may have originally been part of a larger-than-life-size statue. The topknot stands like a mushroom, and the eyelids are connected smoothly to the face, creating a countenance of deep meditation, but at the same time giving it a sensual quality in the Indian Gupta style. With its pleasing combination of forms and lines, the face bears a delicate, gentle, and benevolent smile.