Miscellaneous Buddhist sculptures and fragments from the monasteries at Sanghao and Nutta, Peshawar District
Photographer: Serrot, M.
Medium: Photographic print
This is one of a series of photographs of sculptures taken by M. Serrot in 1883. It was reproduced in photogravure as Plate 5 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, "The fragment on the left represents Buddha on a throne supported by lions...The centre sculpture represents a chapel or small temple...The sculpture on the right represents a standing figure of Prince Siddartha, with an umbrella over the halo round his head...The lower sculpture on the left represents Prince Siddartha and his wife Yasodara...The two fragments in the right-hand corner form part of a frieze, in which are represented the Nirvana of Buddha, and a fire-altar which may have represented the prophet's funeral pile."
From the first and second centuries AD onwards, Peshawar district, in northern Pakistan, became famous for sculptures like those pictured here. Known as Gandhara, the area 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.