The historical Buddha was a man who lived and died in northeast India in the sixth century B.C. He established a religion, Buddhism, that spread throughout Asia and profoundly affected its culture. This serene statue is among the earliest anthropomorphic images of this great religious leader. The Buddha was not depicted in an iconic, human form until about the first century a.d., when two types appeared: one reflecting a purely indigenous sculptural tradition, and a second, from the ancient region of Gandhara (present day Pakistan), showing the influence of contact with the Roman world, as seen in this statue. Originally contained in a temple niche, the work bears a strong resemblance to Greco-Roman statues of Apollo in the togalike robe, the sensuous, well-proportioned face, and easy stance.
(Nasli Heeramaneck Galleries, New York);
purchased by Kimbell Art Foundation, Fort Worth, 1967.