Winged Atlas Figure

Winged Atlas Figure

AD 200s


Overall: 38.1 cm (15 in.)

Gift of Maxeen and John Flower in honor of Dr. Stanislaw Czuma 2011.136


The Greco-Roman figure of Atlas fought on the side of the Titans against the Olympian gods, lost, and was condemned to support the spherical vault of the heavens on his shoulders for eternity. In Buddhist art of the Gandharan region during the time of heightened contact with the Mediterranean world, the figure of Atlas was adopted, but given wings so as to appear super-human. This figure has been conflated with the image of Hercules, who wears the skin of the Nemean lion, and relieved Atlas of his duties for a short time. Repeated images of composite Atlas-like figures surrounded the base of the monuments called stupas, which were solid domes, and can be understood as symbols for the sky, which would have appeared as though supported by rows of titanic figures.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. 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.

Is something not working on this page? Please email

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email