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Bust of a Bodhisattva Shakyamuni

Date:
3rd–4th century
Culture:
Pakistan (ancient region of Gandhara)
Medium:
Schist
Dimensions:
H. 18 1/4 in. (46.4 cm); W. 13 in. (33 cm); D. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Samuel Eilenberg Collection, Ex Coll.: Columbia University, Purchase, Anonymous Gift and Rogers Fund, 1987
Accession Number:
1987.218.10
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 235
Representations of Shakyamuni prior to his enlightenment as a bodhisattva were popular in Gandhara, as they emphasize his high rebirth and potential to become a chakravartin king (universal monarch). It seems likely that such images were also intended to glorify Shakyamuni's great departure from the palace—the moment he leaves the illusory world of desire and attachment to seek enlightenment.
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