Victoria & Albert Museum picture library

A serene Buddha, no longer randomly adrift in the currents of the perceptible world, is captured in this 12-inch-high Buddha head (compare with photos of winged atlas and the death of Adonis). Made of clay covered with stucco, the statue comes from fourth- or fifth-century C.E. Gandhara, a region that covered parts of modern Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the first century C.E., Gandharan artists began making some of the earliest images of the Buddha. For models, they looked to native Indian traditions and to Hellenistic forms of sculpture, which had been introduced into the region when Alexander the Great conquered Gandhara—and parts of India—in the late fourth century B.C.E.