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Statues of Bodhisattvas from Mian Khan, Peshawar District

Statues of Bodhisattvas from Mian Khan, Peshawar District

Photographer: Cole, Henry Hardy

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1883

Shelfmark: Photo 1003/(1080)

Item number: 10031080

Genre: Photograph

Photograph, taken around 1883, attributed to Henry Hardy Cole, probably incorrectly, and showing three boxed Bodhisattva statues, with a label reading 'Mian Khan Tope near Babuza. Figures of Kings. Rec. from Major Cole R.E. Dec. 1883.' 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 show this influence. These sculptures, according to Bloch's 'List of The Photographic Negatives of the Indian Antiquities in the collection of the Indian Museum' (1900), were 'said to be now in Bombay'.

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