Miniature Head of a Bodhisattva

1–100 CE
Location: not on view
You can copy, modify, and distribute this work, all without asking permission. Learn more about CMA's Open Access Initiative.

Download, Print and Share


Against the backdrop of the large-scale monumental sculpture for which the Mathura school is noted, this miniature head may appear insignificant. However, it exemplifies on a much reduced scale the qualities of style and execution that parallels developments on monumental sculpture. It also reflects a certain freedom of treatment of facial details that clearly denotes that while the artist worked in a minor key, the creation was neither inconsequential nor a sequacious rendering of the major sculptural trends of large-scale sculptures from Mathura.

Although this head is small, a sense of volume and mass is conveyed by the bulky earrings, the protruding flowerlike cockade of the turban, and the reduction of linear detail in defining these ornaments and the facial areas. The unridged brows, the generous curves of the jawline and neck, and the soft modulations of the chin and cheeks belie the diminutiveness of the whole. At the same time, the large almond-shaped eyes and the compressed angularity of the upper lip individualize this pensive Bodhisattva head. The modeling and the turban type with the oversized cockade suggest it dates from the pre-Kaniska phase of the first-century sculptures from Mathura.
Miniature Head of a Bodhisattva

Miniature Head of a Bodhisattva

1–100 CE

India, Mathura, Kushan period

Visually Similar Artworks

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.