Sculpture fragments: heads of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas from Jamal-Garhi.
Photographer: Beglar, Joseph David
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph taken by Joseph David Beglar in the 1880s of some heads of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas from Jamal-Garhi. 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. It was during this period that Mahayana Buddhist doctrine emerged and Bodhisattvas like those depicted here were a prominent feature of this doctrine. 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. Peshawar district was also home to a large number of skilled craftsmen who produced high quality sculptures in what can be broadly termed a Gandharan style. This style developed in the region of Peshawar from the first century onwards and bears affinities with Graeco-Roman sculpture. In this photograph the curly hair and naturalistic modelling of the face betray this influence.