Standing Buddha


Historical period(s)
Gupta dynasty, 320-485
Red sikri sandstone
H x W x D: 134.6 x 58.4 x 30.4 cm (53 x 23 x 11 15/16 in)
India, Mathura
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 02: Body Image: Arts of the Indian Subcontinent
Sculpture, Stone

Buddhist sculpture

Buddha, Buddhism, Gupta dynasty (300 - 699), India, WWII-era provenance

From circa 1878 to 1940
The family of Anthony Greville-Bell, India and Dorset, England, acquired in India circa 1878 [1]

From 1987
Mr. Perry Lewis, New York and Greenwich, CT, from 1987 [2]

To 1994
Peter Marks Gallery, New York City, to 1994

From 1994
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Peter Marks Gallery in 1994


[1] According to Anthony Greville-Bell (see original letter dated November 30, 1984, in the object file): the object "was in the possession of my family for several generations. It was in the collection of my great-grandfather Augustus who was an official of the Bombay Presidency. He returned to England about 1878 and settled at Eastbury House in Dorset, bringing with him many objects which he acquired during his time in India… [in] 1940, the collection was dispersed."

[2] According to Peter Marks, February 9, 1994 (see Curatorial Note 2 in the object record).

Previous Owner(s)

Peter Marks Works of Art United States, active 1960 - 2002
Perry Lewis
Augustus Greville-Bell
Anthony Greville-Bell


Standing with one leg slightly bent, this commanding image of the Buddha was created by artists at Mathura, an important center of art in the kingdom of the Gupta monarchs (ca. 320-485 C. E.). The artists selectively combined elements from earlier traditions to create the quintessential Gupta Buddha image. From the Greco-Roman tradition of Gandhara, Gupta sculptors borrowed the monastic robe that covered both shoulders, transforming its folds into a network of strings; from their own earlier Mathura tradition they retained the sensuous, full-bodied form of the Buddha. The sensitive handling of the stone reveals the ridge created at the waist by the draped sarong-like undergarment whose lower edge peeks out at the ankles.The Buddha's left hand holds the folds of the robe, while the right was originally raised in the gesture of protection. Despite its missing head, this is a singularly important image that conveys the power and majesty of the Gupta style, and would have been the focus of veneration within a major Buddhist shrine.

The Gupta-style Buddha was a source of inspiration for the entire Buddhist world, including land-bound Nepal and Tibet, the island of Sri Lanka, and the Southeast Asian countries of Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Java. Each area took the Gupta ideal and developed it along its own lines. Even Chinese pilgrims to India carried portable bronze Guptas back to their homeland.

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. pp. 165-166.
  • pp. 34-35.
  • p. 172, fig. 18.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum