Head of the Buddha. China, 550-577 AD. Museum no. 98-1927

Head of the Buddha. China, 550-577 AD. Museum no. 98-1927

Head of the Buddha
Northern China (Hebei Province)
550-577 AD
Limestone with traces of pigment, carved
Museum no. A 98-1927

Traces of pigment accentuate the eyebrows, eyes and mouth of this huge head. The hairstyle is typical of the historical Buddha Sakyamuni, with tight curls and the prominent usnisa or topknot. The mark on the forehead, expressing wisdom and openness, originally incorporated an impressive jewel. Once part of a monumental figure in a cave complex, the head would have looked down from high. Its symmetrical composition and serene expression would have inspired Buddhist followers standing below.