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Song dynasty (960-1279) China
Head of the Buddha 960-1279 Place made: China
Materials & Technique: sculptures, limestone
Dimensions: 46.0 h x 34.0 w x 26.0 d cm ; weight 60 kg
Acknowledgement: Gift of TT Tsui, Hong Kong, through the National Gallery of Australia Foundation 1995
Accession No: NGA 95.596

Before the introduction of Buddhism to China, there was no consistent tradition of figurative sculpture. Anthropomorphic depictions of the Buddha were imported from India and in time were adapted to express the religious practices central to Chinese Buddhism. This powerfully carved image has a monumental sense of vitality. The eyes are slightly open, eyebrows and mouth expressive, and the face has a fullness which is characteristically Chinese.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label