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Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

In line with decisions made by the National Cabinet as communicated by the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is currently closed but will reopen to the public on June 1. The Gallery will be observing strict social distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of all visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the State. More information




Asian art

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Figure of Buddha

6th century-7th century


Unknown Artist


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.


Place where the work was made

Fonduqistan Ancient Gandhara Afghanistan


6th century-7th century

Media category


Materials used

stucco with traces of pigment


51.5 cm

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Purchased 1996


Not on display

Accession number


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

The provenance of this work is under review and records will be updated as new details become available. The Gallery welcomes any information. Contact


The Walmore Collection, 1990, London/England, as published in Isao KURITA; Gandharan Art II: The World of the Buddha; 1990, pg.122-123, no. 335

Alex Biancardi, 1996, Australia

Referenced in 5 publications


Isao KURITA, Gandharan Art II The World of the Buddha, 1990, 122, 123 (illus.). no. 335

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

David Templeman, Buddha: Radiant awakening, 'Buddha', pg. 64, Sydney, 2001, 64 (colour illus.), 184. 46

Rebecca. L. Twist, Humanities, 'Images of the Crowned Buddha along the Silk Road: Iconography and ideology', pg.1- 31., Switzerland, Sep 2018, 3 (illus.). fig. 1.