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jeudi 3 juin 2010

Antiquities from the Kingdom of Gandhara

Gandhara was a kingdom which flourished from the 1st to the 6th centuries of the common era near the present day Peshawar (sanskrit name Purushapura mentioned in the chinese chronicles of the 7th century of the common era)
Boudhisme is not what comes to your mind when you think of Pakistan clouded as we are by the current unfortunate political climate there, also we tend to forget that much of the early Indian Civilization flourished in what is now Pakistan such as Harappa Moenjadaro etc
in the valley of SWAT and in Purushapura great architectural monuments of a peculiar blend existed ... the so called greco-boudhiste art.
currently about two hundred of these exquisite pieces are on display at the Musee Guimet in the centre of Paris( metro iena close to charles de gaulle etoile). awe inspiring indeed, these well selected pieces of sculptures from the times forgotten when India nearly became a Budhist country.. it was only in the 1920s the British excavated this region and saved these antiquities for the future generations. there are examples of budhist art and sculpture from Afghanistan from regions where budhism held sway long before Islam existed as a religion. all in all very impressive. there are lectures to go with the exhibition which would run for another two months..