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Head of a Buddha

Artist Culture
probably Kidarite dynasty, 3rd–5th century
4th century
Stucco with traces of pigment
Associated with
Hadda, Punjab province, Pakistan, Asia
Sculpture, stone & mineral
Current Location
On View, Gallery 224
18 x 11 1/2 x 10 1/2 in. (45.7 x 29.2 x 26.7 cm)
weight: 39 lb. 6 oz. (17.9 kg)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Public Domain
Object Number
This head of a Buddha bears the distinguishing marks of an enlightened being. Atop his head is an usnisa, a topknot-like protuberance. In the middle of his forehead lies an urna, a circular tuft of hair. Long earlobes, stretched by weighty jewelry, reveal a former life as a prince. Additionally, the figure’s half-closed eyes represent a constant state of meditative equanimity. The gracefully idealized features represent a mixture of influences from Greece, Rome, Persia, and Central Asia. While the hair and some other features of this head were modeled by hand, the face was shaped in a mold. Examples of such molds have been excavated at Gandharan monasteries, indicating that sculptures were produced at the sites where they were installed. Originally richly polychromed, only traces of red, blue, and black remain.
Collected from unknown site in or around Hadda, Afghanistan [1]

- 1931
Stora Art Galleries, Inc. (Raphaël Stora), New York, NY, USA [2]

1931 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Stora Art Galleries, Inc. [3]

[1] Based on stylistic analysis and through comparisons with numerous similar objects in various museum collections, it is clear that this object must have come from Hadda, Afghanistan or its immediate vicinity.

[2] Invoice from Stora Art Galleries, Inc. dated April 8, 1931 [SLAM document files].

[3] Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, April 28, 1931.
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