Buddhist Era (1st Century CE to 5th Century CE) : The 5th and 4th century BC was an age of great thinkers – Socrates, Plato, Confucius and Buddha (in India). Buddhism, a religion that started after Buddha’s death eventually spread to lands far beyond India.
Buddha was not represented as a human form but as a symbol like an empty seat, footprint or as an empty space below a parasol during the earliest era of Buddhist art (pre-Iconic phase) . The most popular icon was the footprint of Buddha (Buddhapada) with the Dharmachakra and Triratna.
Buddha as a human form was first represented in the first century AD (beginning of Iconic phase), in the area known as Gandhara. This form had elements from the Hellenistic style combined with the Indian symbolism (Greco-Roman Buddhist style). Gandhara style also mastered the form of elegant drapery reminiscent of Roman Togas. Another popular series of Gandhara style is that of Fasting Buddha, some of which are currently seen at the Lahore Museum, Pakistan.