India, Andhra Pradesh

Not on view

Figurative representations of the Buddha emerged in southern India as the preoccupation with serial narration in stupa panels shifted to the veneration of the icon. This coalesced in the third century CE under the energetic patronage of the Ikshvaku dynasty, as witnessed by this freestanding sculpture. Using the deeply fluted garment to dramatize the figure’s gesture while precisely mirroring how the robe envelopes the body, by being drawn taut against the leg and hip and across the torso to the opposite shoulder before cascading from the raised arm to the ankles. Although still positioned frontally, the icon’s fully sculpted backs confirm that it was intended to be viewed in the round. Most of these figures have been discovered in the semicircular brick shrines for which they were made, placed in the apse to allow circumambulation by devotees.

Buddha, Limestone, India,  Andhra Pradesh

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