Head from an image of the Buddha, 11th-12th century

Unknown artist, expand_more

In what was formerly one of the wealthiest cities and greatest religious centers of the entire world, ancient Pagan (1044–1287 CE) in central Myanmar (Burma), over 2,000 Buddhist monuments remain scattered across the arid plain. The largely abandoned brick stupas (reliquary buildings) and temples were once lavishly decorated with multicolored stucco (plaster) molding and sculpture. Sculptors in Pagan used stucco with great skill to create many of the thousands of Buddhist images commissioned by lay followers and monasteries.

This sensitively modeled Buddha head reflects the meditative calm and somewhat sweet, humanistic quality associated with art of the neighboring Pala dynasty of Bengal, India. Its Buddhist sculptural traditions had reached Pagan by about 1000 CE through the portable mediums of bronze and terracotta.

Head from an image of the Buddha
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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