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Seated Buddha from Gandhara: Neil MacGregor tells the story of one of the world's best known figures, the Buddha.

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This week the history of the world as told through one hundred objects is looking at how the world's great religions began trying to find the perfect way to visually express the divine, less than 2000 years ago.

Today, Neil MacGregor looks at how a stone sculpture from modern day Pakistan can tell us about how Buddhism set about creating the classic image to represent the real life Buddha who lived and roamed around North India in the 5th Century BC. It was not until over five hundred years later when the classic seated image of the Buddha was first formulated. Before then the Buddha was represented only by symbols. How did the Buddha image come about and why do we need such images? The Dalai Lama's official translator, Thupten Jinpa, and the historian Claudine Bautze-Picron help explain.

Producer: Anthony Denselow.

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