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The Gupta empire was a state centered in northeastern India. The Gupta empire expanded from the fourth century CE to control much of central India and the Ganges valley regions, receiving tributes from other rulers as well. Under the strain of military invasions from the northwest, the empire declined in the late sixth century. The Gupta period is considered a classical age of Hindu and Buddhist art and culture, which produced many of India’s greatest philosophers, playwrights, and artists. Elite patronage of Buddhist institutions was also a major feature of the age, and sculpted Buddhist images are among the most famous and representative images of that time.