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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.
About the Author
Himanshu Prabha Ray is affiliated to Ludwig Maximillian University Munich, Germany, and is recipient of the Anneliese Maier research award of the Humboldt Foundation. She is former Chairperson of the National Monuments Authority, Ministry of Culture, Government of India and former Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. She is Member of the Governing Board, The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. Her recent books include The Archaeology of Sacred Spaces: The Temple in Western India, 2nd Century BCE - 8th Century CE (with Susan Verma Mishra, 2017); The Return of the Buddha: Ancient Symbols for a New Nation (2014); and The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia (2003). Among her earlier works are The Winds of Change: Buddhism and the Maritime Links of Early South Asia (1994) and Monastery and Guild: Commerce under the Satavahanas (1986), in addition to the edited volumes Bridging The Gulf: Maritime Cultural Heritage of the Western Indian Ocean (2016); Indian World Heritage Sites in Context (2014); and Satish Chandra and Himanshu Prabha Ray (eds.), The Sea, Identity and History: From the Bay of Bengal to the South China Sea (2013). Her latest book is entitled Archaeology and Buddhism in South Asia (2017). Her research interests include maritime history and archaeology of the Indian Ocean, the history of archaeology in South and Southeast Asia and the archaeology of religion in Asia.