Sculpture fragment from the upper monastery at Nutta, Peshawar District
Photographer: Serrot, M.
Medium: Photographic print
This photograph shows a sculpture fragment from the upper monastery at Nutta, Peshawar District taken by M.Serrot in 1883. This is one of a series of photographs taken by M. Serrot, and reproduced in photogravure as Plate 11 of 'Illustrations of Graeco-Buddhist sculptures from the Yusufzai District', in volume I of Henry Hardy Cole's 'Preservation of monuments in India' (c. 1885). Cole wrote, "This represents the birth of the Buddha under the Sal tree in the Lumbini Gardens..." The Buddha's mother, Queen Mahamaya is depicted grasping a Sal tree, just after she had given birth. From the first and second centuries AD onwards, Peshawar district, in northern Pakistan, became 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.