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Reconstructed small stupa, Swat Valley

Reconstructed small stupa, Swat Valley

Photographer: Caddy, Alexander E.

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1896

Shelfmark: Photo 1003/(1172)

Item number: 10031172

Length: 27.4

Width: 22

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of a reconstructed small stupa in the Swat Valley taken by Alexander.E Caddy in 1896. A stupa is a hemispherical monument which constitutes a direct representation of the Buddha. They began to be built in the Swat Valley in the second to first centuries BC, although it was when the kingdoms of Udyana (Swat) and Gandhara (Peshawar) were formed, that they began to be built in significant numbers. These kingdoms corresponded fairly closely to what is now known as the northern part of the North West Frontier Province. They were formed by the Kushans, who were of Chinese origin and took over the area in the first century BC. Under the king Kanishka, who ruled both Gandhara and Udyana from around 100 AD, Buddhism flourished; at one point there were 1400 monasteries in the lower Swat Valley alone.

In 1895 Alexander Caddy wrote, regarding stupas from the area which had been broken up and dispersed, "At present the only known representation of a stupa of this type is the small votive stupa from Gandheri (a village just north of Peshawar), which I was fortunate to have given me by Major Deane and Mr Waterfield for the Government of Bengal, and which I have been able to set up temporarily in the (Calcutta) Museum not quite correctly, but as nearly so as available materials would permit." Major H.A. Dean, the archaeologist who had worked extensively in the area, wrote in his 'Notes on Udyana and Gandhera' in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1896 "...The present village of Gandheri, which may be connected with the old name Gandhara...A little north of Gandheri, and not a mile from the village, the site of a stupa is traceable. A small vihara, such as is generally found near stupas, was excavated here; the base was standing, and it has since been built up with other portions excavated near it. The sculpture is very old and good, and much of it shows traces of gilding. It has been made over to the Imperial Museum."

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