Gandhara Buddha Head of Buddha Maitreya


A fragmentary grey schist head of Buddha Maitreya, the Buddha of the Future, who will be born to teach enlightenment in the next age.  The Buddha is shown here wearing a magnificent rendered headpiece, constructed of ribbons and jewels and a miniature stupa. The Buddha is modelled in classical Gandharan style and displays several of the characteristic auspicious marks, laksanas, of the Buddha: these include the forehead mark, urna. With a meditative expression, gently smiling lips adorned with moustaches, slender nose, crisp, planar intersection of forehead and eyes, and wavy locks of hair, this idealized image of a Buddha bears all the classical features of Greek-inspired Gandharan sculptures. The reverse is unmodelled: the flat surface on the reverse indicates that the head was attached to a surface behind rather than free-standing.

Date: Gandhara: Circa 1st - 2nd century A.D
Condition: Very fine condition, intact and complete with signs of aging on the surface. Mounted on a purpose-made stand.


The Buddha Maitreya, after the conclusion of the current period dominated by the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, will come to earth as the last earthly Buddha. Until the time of his appearance as a Buddha, Maitreya resides in the Tushita Heaven as a bodhisattva. According to Mahayana teachings, a Buddha is first born as a bodhisattva, and then after many lifetimes, progresses on to Buddhahood. The historical Buddha was himself referred to as a bodhisattva before becoming the Buddha. The Buddha Maitreya, or Bodhisattva, is here represented as princely figure, alluding to the historical Buddha’s life as a prince before he renounced his kingdom. Bodhisattvas are indeed more richly attired, compared than other figures of Buddhas which appear attired as mendicant monks.

To find out more about Gandharan art please see our relevant blog post: The Influence of Greek Art on Gandharan Statues.

Weight 3100 g
Dimensions W 11.5 x H 21 cm

Gandharan Ideology