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An image of Figure of Buddha by

Swat Valley, Ancient Gandhara, Pakistan

Figure of Buddha
Place of origin
Swat ValleyAncient GandharaPakistan
Kushan period mid 1st century - early 5th century → India
2nd century
Media category
Materials used
grey schist

109.0 x 37.0 x 17.0 cm

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of Josef and Regina Neumann 1986
Accession number
Upper Asian gallery
Further information

The Buddha was originally shown only by symbols, such as the stupa, the wheel of the Doctrine or a footprint. It was the Gandhara area of northwest India that gave rise to the first representations of the Buddha in human form in the 2nd century BCE. This standing figure shows a Greco-Roman influence in its classical facial features and the drapery-like folds of the robe. The left hand grasps a corner of the robe while the right hand would have faced palm out and fingers upright in the 'abhaya mudra' (gesture of fearlessness). Typical of the Gandhar Buddha is the naturalistic hairstyle, the rounded cranial bump or ushnisha (indicating wisdom), and the spiral between the eyebrows (urna) signifying spiral insight.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, August 1995

Bibliography (2)

Jackie Menzies, Asian Collection Handbook, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Introduction', pg. 9-17, Sydney, 1990, 10, 11 (illus.).

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Buddhist Art', Sydney, 2003, 28 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (2)

Buddhist Art from the Collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 May 1995–10 Sep 1995

Conversations through the Asian collections, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Oct 2014–05 Sep 2015