Claude de Marteau Collection, Brussels

The hands of the Buddha in this 24-inch-high, gray schist carving are forming the dharmacakramudra, or the turning of the Wheel of the Law—symbolizing the Buddha’s teaching his disciples the path to nirvana. On the bottom of the carving is an inscription dating the work to 182 C.E. and dedicating it to the “deceased father and mother” of a man named Buddhananda. The figure on the Buddha’s left can be identified as Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva (a figure destined to become enlightened) of mercy, by the image of a seated Buddha in his hair. In carving the draping robes of all three figures, Gandharan artists were directly inspired by Greco-Roman statues and reliefs.