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Early in the Common Era, Buddhists began to represent the Buddha’s physical form. In the region of Gandhara, on the present-day border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, sculptures of the Buddha were very strongly influenced by the Hellenistic art of the Greek kingdoms of Afghanistan and western Central Asia.
In the region of Mathura, in the middle reaches of the Ganges river, the Buddha was sculpted in a robust, down-to-earth style derived from the traditional Indian decorative arts. These two styles coalesced during the period of the Gupta dynasty of Indian rulers (320—540CE) to produce the classic sculptures of the Buddha that have had such wide impact throughout the Buddhist world. The Gupta style is also evident in the paintings on the wall of the Buddhist caves at Ajanta in western India and in the serene, elegant, sensuous, but otherworldly depiction of Buddha teaching at Sarnath.