Gandhāra is the name for a historical region that covered parts of present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan. Gandhāran art is strongly influenced by the Hellenistic cultural tradition that was established with the conquests of Alexander the Great, the heyday of which coincided in large part with the rule of the Kuṣāṇa dynasty.
This bodhisattva has carefully defined facial features and wavy shoulder-length locks. He wears a shawl, a waist cloth (dhotī), and sumptuous jewelry. The realistically modeled body is strong and upright.
The gesture of fearlessness and the sacred water flask identify this figure as Maitreya, Buddha of the Future. The many similar extant statues dating from the Kuṣāṇa period attest to Maitreya’s popularity at that time.