Gandharan Head of a Bodhisattva


A finely carved large grey schist head of the Bodhisattva Maitreya, the Buddha of the Future, probably once part of a large-scale narrative panel modelled in high relief: the flat surface on the reverse indicates that the head was attached to a surface behind it, rather than free-standing.

Date: Circa 2nd-4th Century AD
Condition: Very fine condition, intact and complete with signs of aging on the surface.


The Bodhisattva is modelled in classical Gandharan style and displays several of the characteristic auspicious marks, laksanas, of the Buddha: these include the prominent hair-knot, ushnisha, and the forehead mark, urna. With small mouth, 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 oval shape of the head, the curvature of the eyebrows, reminiscent of an Indian bow, the lotus-leaf-like shape of the eyes, as well as the elongated ears – these are from Indian origin.

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

Weight 5000 g
Dimensions L 19 x H 22 cm

Gandharan Ideology