Standing Buddha
front © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Although its head, forearms, and lower legs are now lost, this majestic figure’s simple clothing identifies it as an image of the Buddha. A finely incised line at the abdomen and subtle ridges at the neck and shins mark the edges of the upper and lower garments of the Buddha’s monastic robes. Although intended to be viewed primarily from the front, it was conceived as a freestanding sculpture, as evidenced by its finished, gently modeled back. The forearms would likely have projected forward in a mudra, or symbolic hand gesture, associated with the historical Buddha Shakyamuni. Created during the Dvaravati period (6th–11th century), when Buddhism first flourished and Indian sculptural styles were introduced in Thailand, this sculpture reflects the influence of the late fifth-century Indian Gupta style, with its exquisitely subtle modeling, harmonious composition, and delicate balance between areas of light and shadow.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Standing Buddha
Work Type
figure, sculpture
7th-8th century
Creation Place: Southeast Asia, Thailand
Dvaravati Period
Level 2, Room 2740, Buddhist Art, The Efflorescence of East Asian and Buddhist Art
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Light gray limestone (known as greenstone); Mon-Gupta style
H. 58.4 x W. 25.4 x D. 8.9 cm (23 x 10 x 3 1/2 in.)
[Spink and Son Ltd., London, 1988] sold; to Harvard University Art Museums, 1988.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Louis Sidney Thierry Memorial Fund and the Ernest B. and Helen Pratt Dane Fund for the Acquisition of Oriental Art
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Publication History

"Acquisitions", Director's Report (Harvard University Art Museums) (1988/1989), 36-44, p. 38-39.

James Cuno, Harvard's Art Museums: 100 Years of Collecting, Harvard University Art Museums/Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (Cambridge, MA, 1996), pp. 84-85

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 31

Exhibition History

Re-View: S228-230 Arts of Asia, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/31/2008 - 11/23/2008

32Q: 2740 Buddhist II, Harvard Art Museums, 11/01/2014

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Google Art Project

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at