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Sculpture fragments, mainly statues of Buddha, excavated at Ali Masjid.

Sculpture fragments, mainly statues of Buddha, excavated at Ali Masjid.

Photographer: Beglar, Joseph David

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1878

Shelfmark: Photo 1003/(969)

Item number: 1003969

Genre: Photograph

This photograph of Buddhist sculpture fragments was taken by Joseph David Beglar between 1878 and 1879 and forms part of the Archaeological Survey of India Collections (Indian Museum Series). It shows the heads of two stucco Buddha images. They were found near to the Ali Masjid, a mosque situated at the head of the Khyber Pass in the North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan. The heads are sculpted in the Gandharan style. This Graeco-Roman influenced artistic school flourished in Northern Pakistan from the first and second centuries AD onwards. The kings at that time were a group of Chinese origin called the Kushans. The Kushan king Kanishka was a Buddhist and it was during his reign, from approximately 78 AD onwards, that we find the first examples of the Gandharan style of sculpture. The classical influence on the sculptures shown in this photograph is shown in the naturalistic modelling of facial features, their style of hair and the draped clothing the figures wear.

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