Head of a Buddha or Bodhisattva

Date: 5th–6th century

Culture: Afghanistan (probably Hadda)

Medium: Clay with inset garnet eyes

Dimensions: H. 12 1/4 in. (31.1 cm); W. 8 7/8 in. (22.5 cm); D. 7 1/4 in. (18.4 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Purchase, 1986

Accession Number: 1986.2


This head gives a sense of the refinement of Afghan sculpture. Layers of clay were added over a core to build up the face; traces of the final white coat are visible on the cheek and forehead. The hair was produced using a mold and then applied separately to a substructure, part of which is visible at the top. The inset garnet eyes, an extremely rare feature, give the image great presence, as does the idealized yet naturalistic treatment of the face.