Statue of a king or Bodhisattva from the upper monastery at (?) Nutta or (?) Mian Khan, Peshawar District
Photographer: Serrot, M.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph taken by M Serrot in 1883 of a statue of a king or Bodhisattva from the upper monastery at Nutta or Mian Khan in Peshawar district. This is one of a series of photographs taken for H.H. Cole at Mardan by Serrot, Cole wrote, "This is a very perfect figure about 1 foot 2 inches high. The halo denotes some connection with the church, but the ornaments are those of a chief or king. The mode of dressing the hair with a top-knot and jewels entwined is peculiar. The right hand, uplifted, has a repesentation of a lotus flower in the palm - another royal sign. Armlets are worn on both arms, and the left hand holds a small vessel for water, scent, or perhaps relics. Besides the drapery round the loins there is a cloth over and about the shoulders, leaving the right shoulder bare."
From the first and second centuries AD onwards, Peshawar district, in northern Pakistan, became famous for sculptures like that pictured here. Known as Gandhara, it was ruled by a dynasty of Chinese origin called the Kushans. They were Buddhists and under their influence, 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 can be clearly seen in the figures draped clothing, its curly hair and the naturalistic modelling of the body.