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Miscellaneous sculptures from Mathura 1003843

Miscellaneous sculptures from Mathura 1003843

Photographer: Smith, Edmund William

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1890

Shelfmark: Photo 1003/(843)

Item number: 1003843

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of a group of Kushan period sculptures - statues, railing pillar fragments, etc. - from Mathura, now in the Lucknow Museum, taken by Edmund William Smith in the 1880s-90s. Mathura has extensive archaeological remains as it was an important city from the middle of the first millennium onwards. It rose to particular prominence under the Kushans as the town was their southern capital. Describing this photograph, A. Cunningham states that it shows "...the most puzzling of the Mathura sculptures" in his Report of a tour in Eastern Rajputana in 1882-83 (A.S.I. vol. XX, Calcutta, 1885) p. 37 and reported, "Each of the females has a small child lying in a dish on her lap. The left hand supports the dish but the right is raised up to the shoulder. Both females appear to be naked. Both of the males are represented with the same action. The larger figure [seen in the centre in this photograph] carries a pair of children, male and female, in his left hand, each being grasped by one arm at full stretch.... I can find no clue to these curious ox-headed figures."

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