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(gəndä`rə), historic region of India, now in NW Pakistan. Situated astride the middle Indus River, the region had Taxila and Peshawar as its chief cities. It was originally a province of the Persian Empire and was reached (327 B.C.) by Alexander the Great. The region passed to Chandragupta, founder of the Maurya empire, in the late 4th cent. B.C., and under Aśoka was converted (mid-3d cent.) to Buddhism. It was part of Bactria from the late 3d cent. to the 1st cent. B.C. Under the Kushan dynasty (1st cent.–3d cent. A.D.), and especially under KanishkaKanishka
, fl. c.A.D. 120, king of Gandhara. He was the most powerful and renowned ruler of the Kushan dynasty, one of the five tribes of the Yüeh-chih who had divided (1st cent. B.C.) Bactria among them.
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, Gandhara developed a noted school of sculpture, consisting mainly of images of Buddha and reliefs representing scenes from Buddhist texts, but with marked Greco-Roman elements of style. The art form flourished in Gandhara until the 5th cent., when the region was conquered by the Huns.



the ancient name of a region in northwestern Pakistan, probably dating back to the Gandhari tribe mentioned in the Rigveda. The Behistun inscription also mentions the region of Gadara, which is identified by historians as Gandhara. Evidently Gandhara at the end of the sixth century B.C. was a part of the Indian possessions of the Achaemenids. According to ancient Indian literature, Gandhara was once an autonomous state with its capital in Taxila. Beginning in the fourth century B.C., Gandhara was part of the state of the Mauryas and of the other states that supplanted each other after the collapse of the Mauryas. In the first through third centuries A.D. it belonged to the Kushan kingdom.

From the latest centuries B.C. to the first centuries A.D., a distinctive art of one of the leading Kushan schools of the time existed on the territory of Gandhara; it was given the name “Gandharan art.” The art of Gandhara is closely associated with Buddhism. Its main achievements are in sculpture—for example, statues of Buddha, bodhisattvas, and other members of the Buddhist pantheon and bas-reliefs portraying scenes from the life of the Buddha that decorated stupas and monasteries in Taxila and the Peshawar region. An idealized canonic image of the Buddha, compositional patterns of bas-reliefs, and symbolism were developed in Gandhara. There are different theories about the chronological framework of the Gandharan school, its internal periodi-zation, and the artistic influences assimilated by it. There is no doubt that the art of Gandhara developed on the basis of the artistic traditions of northwestern India under the influence of the Hellenistic plastic arts; subsequently there was an increase in Graeco-Roman and Middle Asian influences. The traditions of the Gandharan school (whose monuments have been traced up to the seventh century) played an important role in the development of the medieval art of Middle, Central, and Far-Eastern Asia.


Tiuliaev, S. I. Iskusstvo Indii. Moscow, 1968. Pages 37-40.
Foucher, A. L’art gréco-bouddique du Gandāra, vols. 1-2. Paris, 1905-51.
Deydier, H. Contribution à l’étude de l’art du Gandāra. Paris, 1950.
Ingholt, H., and I. Lyons. Gandāran Art in Pakistan. New York, 1957.
Marshall, J. The Buddhist Art of Gandāra. Cambridge, 1960.
Schlumberger, D. “Descendants non-méditerranéens de l’art grec.” Syria, 1960, vol. 37, nos. 1-2.

A. M. OSIPOV (history) and B. IA. STAVISKII (fine arts)

References in periodicals archive ?
PESHAWAR -- A meeting of Gandhara Hindko Board's (GHB) Executive Body Tuesday discussed ten-point agenda relating to the establishment of Hindko Studies Department and Chapters of the board in various countries.
The conference was organized by the Gandhara Hindko Board and Gandhara Hindko Academy as part of the efforts to promote Hindko along with other native languages and cultures.
He said Gandhara was hub of cultures, religions and commercial activities and all major religions of the world coexisted herein a very peaceful and harmonious manner.
Amidst a sea of tall men hurrying to their destination, I was looking for Esther Park and Zulfiqar Rahim, my friends from Gandhara Art and Culture Association.
President Mamnoon Hussain has said that government was keen to preserve and develop the ancient cultural heritage of Gandhara not only to promote inter-faith harmony but also to develop tourism in the country.
According to a report of the Archaeological Institute of America, the remains from the Gandhara civilization are under serious threat due to neglect on part of the government.
Chinese premier addressing the special session of the Parliaments Upper House said, Pakistan was the hub of ancient civilizations, like Gandhara.
Pakistani researchers have discovered a Buddhist stupa surrounded by statues in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa Province dating back to the Gandhara civilization of 2,500 years ago, the provincial Department of Archeology and Museums in Peshawar said late Monday.
He took Khan to a site in northwest Pakistan which dates back to the ancient Gandhara civilization where they dug up 18 pieces of statue, selling them to market traders for two million rupees ($ 20,700).
He took Khan to a site in northwest Pakistan which dates back to the ancient Gandhara civilisation where they dug up 18 pieces of statue, selling them to market traders for two million rupees ($20,700).
The topics include Buddhism in Gandhara, Greece as the final frontier of its westward spread, tantric threads between India and China, the history of Buddhism among the Mongols, and the spread of Chan (Zen) Buddhism.
Karachi: A lower court on Thursday ordered the police to hand over the hundreds of relics of ancient Gandhara civilisation to the archeology department to ascertain whether they were genuine and to secure and preservation.