The Buddhist Heritage of Pakistan: Art of Gandhara at the Asia Society, New York

From the Asia Society: “Asia Society Museum presents an exhibition of spectacular Buddhist sculptures, architectural reliefs and works of gold and bronze from the Gandhara region of Pakistan, most never exhibited before in the United States. The Buddhist Heritage of Pakistan: Art of Gandhara reveals the complex cultural influences — from Scytho-Parthian to Greco-Roman traditions — that fed the extraordinary artistic production of this region from the first century B.C.E. through fifth century C.E. At its height, Gandhara — whose center was situated in present-day Peshawar in northwest Pakistan — encompassed Bamiyan in Afghanistan, Bactria, the Hindu Kush, and the Punjab region of northwest India.”

Despite common (mis)perceptions, many aspects of Pakistani heritage continue to surprise and inspire. While the Buddhist heritage of Pakistan may not be at the forefront of the current socio-political discourse in the Pakistan of today, it is an important part of highlighting the diversity of our roots and the existence of a history that is far removed from the anxieties of modern day Pakistan. In the meantime, I was fascinated by the symbolism in the sculpture (inadequately captured above by my Blackberry camera) of Buddha’s footprint.  Thought I would share it here.

See also Art Review in the New York Times: When East Met West Under the Buddha’s Gaze

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