Miscellaneous Buddhist sculpture fragments from the monastery at Mian Khan, Peshawar District
Photographer: Serrot, M.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of some sculptural pieces from the monastery at Mian Khan in the 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 29 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). Cole wrote of this image, which is printed from a broken glass plate, 'There is nothing about these fragments not already described, excepting the lower centre piece, which is part of the body of an elephant carrying a seated figure on a throne."
From the first and second centuries AD onwards, Peshawar district, in northern Pakistan, became famous for 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.