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Gandhara Buddha The Buddha of Gandhara

Gandhara Buddha is depicted as arms crossed before his chest in the Dharmachakra Mudra. Gandhara Buddha wears flowing robes draped across his left shoulder, leaving the right bare. His face has an inward looking meditative expression, defined by delicately rendered, semi-closed, fish-like eyes. Buddha's wavy hair rises to a domed topknot, and a round nimbus frames his face. The thin lips are sensitively rendered with the lower being slightly thicker than the upper. Indeed, the latter feature convincingly conveys the artist's strong mastery over the human anatomy.

Gandhara was a Buddhist kingdom situated between the lower Kabul valley in present day Afghanistan, which flourished under the rule of the Bactrian Greeks from the 2nd century BC and later under the Kushanas, a Scythian tribe from Central Asia. It is particularly noted as a center for Buddhist sculpture, strongly under the influence of Hellenic styles. Some of the earliest representations of the Buddha are said to have been produced in the Gandhara region which ceased to exist as an independent kingdom in the 7th century AD.

Gandhara images are characterized by long eyes, an angular chin, earlobes shorter than those of other schools and sharp, well-defined noses. All these traits can be observed in the present sculpture. Pursuing Greek models further, the Gandhara sculptors preferred voluminous drapery with heavy pleats for their images.

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