Group of Buddhist sculptures from the upper monastery at Nutta, Peshawar District 10031112
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 for H.H. Cole at Mardan by Serrot. Cole described this image, "No. 1 [top right] is a niche, or chapel, representing a seated Buddha and two attendants in the upper part, the worship of Buddha''s head dress and hair in the centre, and a standing Buddha with six attendants in the lower panel. Nos. 2, 3, 4, & 5 are fragments of a circular frieze, and chiefly remarkable for the ease and grace in the pose and drapery of the figures."
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.