Pakistan, ancient region of Gandhara, probably Sahri Bahlol workshop
Schist; H. 64 1/2 in. (163.8 cm)
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1995 (1995.419)
Originally standing more than ten feet tall, this torso provides an idea of the zenith of late Gandharan production in the fifth century. The sensitively modeled, anatomically correct torso is in accord with long-established precedent and is similar to other sculpture from a workshop active at the site of Sahri Bahlol. By the fifth century, Mahayana Buddhism was taking hold in Gandhara and bodhisattvas were being conceptualized in new ways. Bodhisattvas like Avalokiteshvara were understood as having reached a state of enlightenment and, out of compassion, to have remained on earth to guide others in their quest for spiritual perfection.