This bearded winged figure has tentatively been identified as Atlas, the giant god of Greek mythology who holds the world on his shoulders. In contrast to Greek depictions, Gandharan sculptures generally show Atlas with wings. Although Gandharan Atlas figures wear short boots or have bare feet, the long, talon-like toes of this image reinforce its composite bird-man characterisation.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label