Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Bust of a Bodhisattva Shakyamuni

3rd–4th century
Pakistan (ancient region of Gandhara)
H. 18 1/4 in. (46.4 cm); W. 13 in. (33 cm); D. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Samuel Eilenberg Collection, Ex Coll.: Columbia University, Purchase, Anonymous Gift and Rogers Fund, 1987
Accession Number:
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.
Samuel Eilenberg , New York (until 1986; donated to Columbia University); [ Columbia University , New York, 1986–1987, sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Lotus Transcendent: Indian and Southeast Asian Art from the Samuel Eilenberg Collection," October 2, 1991–June 28, 1992.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Pala-Sena Period," 2007.

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