Head of a Bodhisattva or celestial being, 2nd-3rd century CE (Kushana Period, 1st-4th century)
Stucco with traces of paint
Overall: 9 in x 5 1/2 in x 5 7/8 in; 22.9 cm x 14 cm x 14.9 cm
Purchase with the Nancy Everett Dwight Fund
Gandharan art reflects a blending of indigenous Buddhist artistic traditions with the naturalism of Hellenistic Greek sculpture. This delicately sculpted head of a bodhisattva—a Buddhist enlightened being—borrows Hellenistic elements, including wavy hair, detailed eyes, and balanced facial proportions. Hellenistic culture was first brought to the region of Gandhara when Alexander the Great was expanding his empire in the fourth century BCE; Greek influence reached its peak under the Kushan empire (30–375 CE), when this head was made.
-James Collings ’18, Curatorial Intern, Summer 2017, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum