Head of Buddha

This red sandstone head of Buddha is an excellent example of the Mathura school of Gupta sculpture. This idealised version of the Buddha would have been a spiritual model for depictions throughout Asia. Here, the Buddha is depicted in deep meditation; he gazes downward with heavy-lidded, almond-shaped eyes deeply set beneath a pair of delicately arched brows, his full lips are upturned in a serene smile, and his round cheeks evoke soft flesh. In contrast to his smooth skin, beautifully coiled hair covers his head surmounted by the ushnisha. It is his ushnisha as well as his elongated earlobes that serve as symbols of the Buddha’s divine, enlightened nature.

Gupta Dynasty, 5th century
India, Uttar Pradesh, Mathura
Object size: 30 x 18 x 18 cm
Accession No.
Mottled red sandstone
Collection of
Indian Heritage Centre