We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Torso of a Buddha

1st century-2nd century


Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Mathura Uttar Pradesh India
    Kushan period mid 1st century - early 5th century
    1st century-2nd century
    Media category
    Materials used
    47.0 x 42.0 x 16.0 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Gift of Alex Biancardi 1998
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

  • About

    The youthful male torso is characteristic of the important Mathura school that flourished in northern India under the rule of the Kushan dynasty. Carved from the mottled red sandstone found around Mathura, it demonstrates the skill of the Indian sculptor in eliciting from hard stone the soft contours of a youthful body beneath transparent robes. The absence of this fragment’s head and right hand (which would have been held in a specific gesture, or 'mudra') prevents its precise identification.

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

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • Walking with gods, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 01 Jun 2019–05 Jan 2020

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 4 publications

    • Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian Collection: South Asia', pg. 288-297, Sydney, 1999, 289 (colour illus.).

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

    • Jackie Menzies, Look, 'Alex Biancardi November 18, 1923 - November 28, 1998', pg. 13, Melbourne, May 1999, 13 (colour illus.).

    • Jackie Menzies, Look, 'Evolution and enlightenment', pg. 30- 32., Sydney, Jul 2015, 30 (colour illus.).

  • Provenance

    Alex Biancardi, Jan 1985-Jun 1998, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, donated to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1998.