India (probably Bihar)
H. 18 1/2 in. (47 cm)
Purchase, Florance Waterbury Bequest, 1969 (69.222)
Dating to the late Gupta period, this image is stylistically dependent on forms developed in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh during the sixth century A.D. In its turn, this type of northern Indian sculpture played a major role in the formation of early Nepalese styles. The exact provenance of this statue is unknown, but it is believed to have come out of Nepal. Many Indian Buddhist icons were transported to Nepal and Tibet following the destruction of monasteries in northeast India during the twelfth century.
The Buddha combines stylistic traits from both Mathura and Sarnath, the two most important centers of the period. The clear delineation of the folds of the Buddha's monastic robe follows the Mathuran mode, while the elegant body and facial features seem to reflect the influence of the style that prevailed at Sarnath. The mathematical exactitude and modeling of this image exemplify the aesthetic canons of the day.