Miscellaneous Buddhist sculptures from Rhode Tope, Sanghao, Peshawar District 10031135
Photographer: Serrot, M.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph taken by M.Serrot of miscellaneous Buddhist sculptures from Rhode Tope, Sanghao, Peshawar District taken in 1883. This is one of a series of photographs taken by M. Serrot, and reproduced in photogravure as Plate 2 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 large group of sculpture fragments (pieces of frieze, bases and capitals of columns, animal sculptures, etc.). Cole wrote, "the site where the sculptures were dug is perched on a steep spur, and was the first excavation done under my superintendence in January 1883. The building revealed two distinct periods, and consists of a basement containing small topes, and of a superstructure of plain apartments, built obliquely over the basement, apparently withour reference to its plan. The sculptures were found in the basement and belong to the older period; coins of Kanishka, A.D. 80 to 120, were found in the superstructure and belong to the more modern period. Since the photograph was taken I have pieced many of the fragments together and so rendered the subjects more intelligible. The collection is for the Lahore Museum."
From the first and second centuries AD onwards, Peshawar district, in northern Pakistan, became famous for producing sculptures like those in this photograph. Known as Gandhara, it was ruled by a dynasty of Chinese origin called the Kushans. They were Buddhists and under their rule, 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 seen, in the figures draped clothing, their curly hair and the naturalistic modelling of their bodies