Buddha, seated in the padmasana pose, in dhyana mudra, attended by Indra

Accession Number

Buddha, seated in the padmasana pose, in dhyana mudra, attended by Indra

Artist Unknown, Gandhara (Ancient Pakistan and Afghanistan)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
stucco relief with traces of polychromy

10 1/4 in. x 9 5/8 in. x 3 3/4 in. ( 26 cm x 24.5 cm x 9.5 cm )

Credit Line
Museum purchase for the James Marshall Plumer Memorial Collection

Label copy
Gallery Rotation Fall 2013
Buddha Shakyamuni attended by Indra
Pakistan, ancient region of Gandhara
2nd–4th century
Stucco relief with traces of polychromy
Museum purchase for the James Marshall Plumer Memorial Collection, 1961/2.83
In the fourth century bce, Alexander the Great conquered Gandhara (now part of Pakistan and Afghanistan). Links with Greece and later with Rome endured for centuries as Gandhara lay on the trade routes, known as the Silk Road, that connected East and West. This continual association with the West greatly affected Gandharan art, as can be seen in the facial features, wavy hair, and draped toga-like clothing of this Buddha and the one to the right. Both these sculptures decorated the exteriors of religious buildings or shrines in monastic complexes and were painted in their original context.
Standing beside the Buddha is a figure making the gesture of worship. This is Indra, king of the Hindu gods. Brahma, another important early Hindu deity, is likely to have been on the other side of the Buddha. The Buddha flanked by these Hindu deities—a typical subject in Gandharan art—was intended to communicate the superiority of the Buddha in relation to the Hindu gods that were most prominent at that time. Indra’s contropposto (hip-shot) stance is yet another visual association with Western art.

Subject matter
The Buddha, seated in meditation, attended on his left by Indra, the king of the Brahmanical gods, and another figure damaged beyond recognition. Typically, the Brahmanical deity Brahma would have stood at Buddha's right side; together, Indra and Brahma worshipping the Buddha represent the capitulation of earlier faiths to Buddhism. This fragment would have originally decorated the wall of a stupa or shrine in a monastic compound.

Physical Description
A fragment of a stucco relief sculpture.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

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Buddhas (visual works)
relief (sculpture techniques)

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