Date: ca. late 6th century
Culture: Pakistan (ancient region of Gandhara)
Dimensions: H. 13 1/4 in. (33.7 cm)
Credit Line: Purchase, Rogers, Fletcher, Harris Brisbane Dick and Pfeiffer Funds and Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1981
Accession Number: 1981.188a, b
Many Gandharan sculptures in stone, clay, and stucco have survived, but works in bronze are quite rare. Some of these bronzes depict the standing Buddha, an icon that served as one of the chief prototypes for early Buddhist images throughout East and South Asia. The importance of these small, portable bronze images cannot be overestimated.
This figure represents the Gandharan style at the height of its maturity. The Buddha is posed on a stepped pedestal. His right hand is raised in the abhayamudra or fear-allaying gesture, while his other hand holds the hem of his outer garment. The elaborate body halo, or mandorla, which creates a perfect frame for the figure, has an outer perimeter of stylized flames and an attractive floral rinceau.
Only about two dozen late Gandharan bronze standing Buddhas are extant. Of these, the present example is one of the best preserved.