Group of Buddhist sculptures from the upper monastery at Nutta, Peshawar District 10031111
Photographer: Serrot, M.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a group of Buddhist sculptures from the upper monastery at Nutta, Peshawar district, taken by M.Serrot in 1883. This is one of a series of photographs taken by M. Serrot, and reproduced in photogravure as Plate 15 of 'Illustrations of Graeco-Buddhist sculptures from the Yusufzai District', in volume I of Henry Hardy Cole's 'Preservation of monuments in India' (c. 1885). The image shows a fragment of a 'chapel' or niche (top left), a female beneath a tree (top right), and two sculptures of Buddha seated on a throne (bottom left and right).
From the first and second centuries AD onwards, Peshawar district, in northern Pakistan, was becoming well known for the production of sculptures like those pictured here. Known as Gandhara, it was ruled by a dynasty of Chinese origin called the Kushans. They were Buddhists and under their influence, the religion, and the arts associated with it were allowed to flourish. The reign of the Kushan king Kanishka, is particularly well known for its artistic achievements and it was during his reign, from 78 AD, that we find the first examples of the Graeco-Roman influenced Gandharan style of sculpture. The classical influence on these sculptures can be clearly seen in the figures draped clothing, their curly hair and the naturalistic modelling of their bodies.