Statue of a Bodhisattva, from Jamal-Garhi.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph taken by an unknown photographer in 1880s of a statue of a Bodhisattva from Jamal-garhi. A note accompanying these photographs states, "The plates entered here also include photographs taken from sculptures coming from Takht-i-Bahl and Shahr-i-Buhlul. No separate arrangement was possible. nearly all the sculptures coming from these places are now in the Indian Museum, Calcutta." Jamal-Garhi was a Buddhist monastery located in the Peshawar district of northern Pakistan. From the first until the fifth century AD, Buddhism flourished in the Peshawar district which was known as Gandhara at that time. The city of Peshawar was the winter capital of a large empire and the monasteries in the area around the city attracted Buddhists from all over South Asia.
The area was also home to a large number of skilled craftsmen who produced high quality items such as the sculptures of Bodhisattvas pictured here. Bodhisattvas are a type of Buddhist deity who were once mortals. They became enlightened, yet instead of ascending to Nirvana, remained on earth to help others attain the same goal. They were a prominent feature of Mahayana Buddhist doctrine. The Bodhisattvas in this photograph are sculpted in what can be broadly termed the Gandharan style. This style developed in the Peshawar region from the first century onwards and bears affinities with Graeco-Roman sculpture. In this photograph the draped clothes and naturalistic modelling of the body betray this influence.