264 pages | 56 B/W Illus.
Gandhara is a name central to Buddhist heritage and iconography. It is the ancient name of a region in present-day Pakistan, bounded on the west by the Hindu Kush mountain range and to the north by the foothills of the Himalayas. ‘Gandhara’ is also the term given to this region’s sculptural and architectural features between the first and sixth centuries CE.
This book re-examines the archaeological material excavated in the region in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and traces the link between archaeological work, histories of museum collections and related interpretations by art historians. The essays in the volume underscore the diverse cultural traditions of Gandhara – from a variety of sources and perspectives on language, ethnicity and material culture (including classical accounts, Chinese writings, coins and Sanskrit epics) – as well as interrogate the grand narrative of Hellenism of which Gandhara has been a part. The book explores the making of collections of what came to be described as Gandhara art and reviews the Buddhist artistic tradition through notions of mobility and dynamic networks of transmission.
Wide ranging and rigorous, this volume will appeal to scholars and researchers of early South Asian history, archaeology, religion (especially Buddhist studies), art history and museums.
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[Himanshu Prabha Ray]
1. Greek or Indian? The Questions of Menander and Onomastic Patterns in Early Gandhāra
2. "Tis All Here. A Treasure Locked.": Unlocking the Wonder House of the Chinese Buddhist Travelogues
3. Numismatics of ‘The Other’: Investigating Coinage and ‘Greekness’ at Taxila
4. Region through Text: Representation of Gandhāra in the Mahābhārata
5. Charles Masson: A Footloose Antiquarian in Afghanistan and Building up of Numismatic Collections in the Museums in India and England
6. The Collection of Gandharan Art in the Residence of the Malakand Political Agent, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan
7. Vajīrasthāna/ Bazira and Beyond: Foundation and Current Status of the Archaeological Work in Swat
[Luca M. Olivieri]
8. The Beginning and Development of Gandhāran Collections in German Public Museums
9. Decoding Gandharan Art: Making of Museum Collections in India
[Himanshu Prabha Ray]
This Series, in association with the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, reflects on the complex relationship between religion and society through new perspectives and advances in archaeology. It looks at this critical interface to provide alternative understandings of communities, beliefs, cultural systems, sacred sites, ritual practices, food habits, dietary modifications, power, and agents of political legitimisation. The books in the Series underline the importance of archaeological evidence in the production of knowledge of the past. They also emphasise that a systematic study of religion requires engagement with a diverse range of sources such as inscriptions, iconography, numismatics and architectural remains.