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An image of Figure of Buddha by

Fonduqistan, Gandhara, Afghanistan

Figure of Buddha
Place of origin
Cultural origin
Ancient India; Irano-Buddhist - drawing from the influences of the Sassanids, with their origins in ancient Iran, and Gupta India.
6th century-7th century
Media category
Materials used
stucco with traces of pigment

51.5 cm

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Purchased 1996
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

This fragile, and hence rare, stucco image of the Buddha comes from the little-studied temple site of Fonduqistan to the west of present-day Kabul. The figure is an example of the so-called Irano-Buddhist style of Buddhist sculpture found in the region bordering the Hindu Kush northeast of Afghanistan. Ultimately this style had its genesis in the remarkable florescence of Buddhist creativity that distinguished the ancient Indian province of Gandhara during the first four centuries CE. The tasselled, four-pointed chasuble is distinctive to Fonduqistan pieces, while the soft, idealised face with its gentle smile and the naturalistic handling of drapery, body and posture, are part of the Gandharan legacy. His crown indicates he is a monarch, conflating the idea of the Buddha as ruler of the physical and spiritual realms.

The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.27.

Bibliography (4)

Isao KURITA, Gandharan Art II The World of the Buddha, 1990, 335 (illus.).

Jackie Menzies (Editor), Buddha: Radiant awakening, Sydney, 2001, 64 (colour illus.), 184. 46

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Buddhist Art', Sydney, 2003, 27 (colour illus.).

Pratapaditya Pal, Orientations, 'Sensuous Spirituality: Hindu and Buddhist Art from the Indic Cultural Realm', pg. 80-87, Hong Kong, Sep 2000, 81 (colour illus.). fig.3

Exhibition history (1)

Buddha: Radiant awakening, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 10 Nov 2001–24 Feb 2002