Sculpture slab from Mian Khan, Peshawar District: Buddha meeting Nagas
Photographer: Cole, Henry Hardy
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph, taken around 1883, attributed to Henry Hardy Cole, probably incorrectly, and showing a small sculpture, about eight inches high, boxed for transportation. 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'. The sculpture pictured, is from Mian Khan in the Peshawar district. From the first and second centuries AD onwards, the Peshawar district, in northern Pakistan, was famous for it's sculptural traditions. Known as Gandhara, it was ruled by a dynasty of Chinese origin called the Kushans. They were Buddhists and under their rule, the religion and the arts associated with it were allowed to flourish. The reign of the Kushan king Kanishka, is particularly well known for its artistic achievements and it was during his reign, from 78 AD, that we find the first examples of the Graeco-Roman influenced Gandharan style of sculpture. The classical influence on this sculpture slab can be seen, in the figures draped clothing, their curly hair and the naturalistic modelling of their bodies.