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Archaeology

Buddha Head

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Buddha Head
5th Century AD, Gupta Period

Place of Origin: Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh
Materials: Chunar Sandstone
Dimensions: Ht: 26.6 L:16.2 W:21.0 cm.
Acc. No. 47.20

This magnificent sculpture, just a part, the mere head of an image seated in meditation for, as suggests the bearing on the face, it reveals neither the tough determination of his conflict against Mara - the evil power obstructing him from attaining Enlightenment nor the teacher's zeal his face reflected when putting the wheel of Law in motion, the other usual forms of his image, represents the Buddha in strange fullness of meditative being. The half closed eyes indicate self-absorbed contemplation, the essence of his form in meditation. An exceptionally simplified form not going into many details but discovering the Great Master just in some broad features the image has been carved from a block of buff sandstone, beautifully finished and polished, quarried from Chunar, the most finely grained sandstone anywhere in India in use since Mauryan era, the famous Ashokan columns being made of Chunar stone.

Neither details of drapery nor the body gestures to support, the mere composure and deep quiescence enshrining the face, its divine simplicity and sensitively treated attributes of the face alone are the characteristics that define the apex which the art of stone-carving attained during the period when this great sculpture was carved, that is, from 4th to 6th century, the period of Guptas. Abounding in rare grace and elegance, an oval face, well-fed cheeks perfectly aligning with the chin on the bottom, and with forehead on the top, rose-petal like modeled full lips, sharp nose, half closed eyes, elongated earlobes, hair carved in beautiful tiny curls and the 'usnisha' atop. In aesthetic terminology, this form of the image - the most accomplished as it is, combines 'drishti' - highest vision, with 'rupa' - perfect form, 'bhava' - emotion, 'lavanya' - grace and charm, and 'sadrasya' - likeness.

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