Hellenistic art had a strong influence on the early sculptures of Gandhara. In Greek architecture, sculpted figures were often used in place of columns used for architectural support. The flat top of this sculpture suggests that it may have fulfilled this function. Similar use of human figures also occurs in contemporaneous Indian sculpture, where they represent tree spirits and symbols of fertility.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label