Statue of a Bodhisattva from Mian Khan Tope, Mala Tangi, Peshawar District
Photographer: Cole, Henry Hardy
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph, taken around 1883, attributed to Henry Hardy Cole, probably incorrectly, and showing a statue boxed for transportation with a label dated December 1883 identifying the find-spot as Mian Khan Tope. 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 Bodhisattva in this photograph is sculpted in what can be broadly termed the Gandharan style. This idiom developed in the Peshawar region, situated in northern Pakistan, from the first century onwards and bears affinities with Graeco-Roman sculpture. In this photograph the draped clothes and naturalistic modelling of the body display these classical influences. This sculpture, according to Bloch's 'List of The Photographic Negatives of the Indian Antiquities in the collection of the Indian Museum' (1900), was 'said to be now in Madras'.