Smithsonian Freer Gallery Sackler Gallery National Museum of Asian Art Gallery Guide to the Understanding South Asian Art
Introductionpage 1page 2page 3page 4 page 5 page 6 Sculpturepage 1page 2Paintingpage 1page 2page 3page 4
In the fifth century B.C.E., Prince Siddhartha meditated upon the nature of suffering, achieved enlightenment, and became known as the Buddha (literally, Enlightened One). After his enlightenment, the Buddha taught monks, nuns, and householders a way to move beyond the misery of existence by ridding themselves of desire and attachment. In later centuries, devotees constructed monumental reliquaries covered with narrative relief sculptures depicting the Buddha's life. Over time, images of the Buddha and other enlightened beings (bodhisattvas) became an increasingly important focus of art and devotion. (see Buddhist gallery guide).
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Head of the Buddha
Pakistan (Ancient Gandhara)
3rd century
Schist; height 27.5 cm (10 7/8 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alan D. Wolfe    S1989.19
The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art
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