The renowned Gupta sculptural

Sultanganj Buddha

The Sultanganj Buddha is a splendid example of the renowned Gupta sculptural style which itself had been shaped by European and Persian influences that came to India through the trade routes with Rome and West Asia. The Sultanganj Buddha is 2.3m high and 1m at its widest point and weighs about 500kgs. It was cast by the technique known as the 'lost wax' process, in which a solid core of clay is overlaid with wax. The sculptor models the fine details in the wax coating. The wax is covered with a liquid layering of clay and plaster which hardens to form a mould. When heat is applied the wax melts and molten metal is poured in. The finished statue is finally obtained by removing the outer casting when cool.


The Sultanganj Buddha is a representation of Siddhārtha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism who lived in India/Nepal around the 6th century BC. The Buddha was one of the first pieces to enter Birmingham’s collection in 1864 when it was shipped to the city by a former Lord Mayor. Dating from about the 7th century, the Sultanganj Buddha is a testimony to the skills of the sculptors and metalworkers of ancient India. At over two metres tall and weighing in excess of 500kg it is the only surviving over-life sized metal statue of its period.

The statue is influenced by the celebrated Gupta style which was shaped by European and Persian sculptural traditions that came to India through trade and through the invasion of India by Alexander the Great in 326 BC. The Sultanganj Buddha has several features common to many Buddha statues. The right hand is raised in a gesture of reassurance and protection while the left hand, with palm stretched outwards, represents the granting of favour. The statue was discovered entirely by chance. In 1861 British railway engineer E.B. Harris was working on the Indian Railway in Sultanganj, north east India. While searching for ballast he began excavating a vast mound of bricks which formed part of the remains of an abandoned Buddhist monastery or vihara.

Samuel Thornton, a former Lord Mayor of Birmingham, heard of the discovery and was keen for the Buddha to be displayed in the art gallery that the town corporation were considering building. He paid £200 to ship the statue to England, donating it in 1864 “to be placed in the Art Museum, now being erected”, making it one of the first pieces to enter Birmingham’s collection. Today the Sultanganj Buddha is displayed alongside other Asian sculpture in the Buddha Gallery. Offerings of flowers are regularly left at its feet by visitors.

Note : Some contents on this blog is taken from various website(s), books and based on personal experience for the purpose of spreading knowledge and to help people finding solutions they are looking for. We do not allow readers to violate any copyright law like to sell or distribute for business purpose. They are allowed to Read, Share and Print the document. However we are giving credit to websites from where some of content is used by us. You can find list of websites in the link : Source Credit

Milan Anshuman is a travel blogger with proficiency in nature and wildlife photography. Apart from this he loves to write article for technology, food, health & lifestyle, education, ayurveda and yoga.

Want to list your Business?

Send us your Business Details