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Khyber Pass Ali Musjid from the north. The road through a narrow cleft through which a rapid torrent flows.

Khyber Pass Ali Musjid from the north. The road through a narrow cleft through which a rapid torrent flows.

Artist: Atkinson, James (17780-1852)

Medium: Watercolour with pen and ink

Date: 1840

Shelfmark: WD1347

Item number: 17v

Length: 27.8

Width: 40.1

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Drawing

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This is a pen-and-ink and water-colour drawing of the Kyber Pass by James Atkinson (1780-1852) dated 1840. Inscribed on the front is: 'Khyber Pass Ali Musjid from the north. The road through a narrow cleft through which a rapid torrent flows.' This is folio 17 verso from an album of 17 drawings of views in Afghanistan from the Kyber Pass to Kabul by Atkinson. During the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839-42) Atkinson served as Superintending Surgeon to the Army of the Indus, a combined force of British and Indian troops. A talented amateur artist, he took the opportunity to complete many sketches en route that portrayed the mountain passes, rocky gorges and arid plains that are so characteristic of the country.

The notorious Kyber Pass is a 33-mile long passage which cuts through the Hindu Kush Mountain Range in the North West Frontier Province (Pakistan). For centuries it has served as the only overland route through the mountains between northern Asia and the Indian plains. At its narrowest point the pass is only three metres wide. It was the scene of many skirmishes between British Forces and the Afghan soldiers and tribesmen who occupied the surrounding hills during the Anglo-Afghan Wars.

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