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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 ?
Bechert's proposal of a later date for the Buddha is suspected of having been motivated by a desire to rule out Indian influence on Indian philosophy, while Spooner's suggested Achaemenid influence on Kumrahar is rejected, and Gandharan art described as representative of "the modern 'pushtu'-speaking peoples of this part of the subcontinent," rather than Hellenistic (p.
Following this article, which is intended to introduce the Senior collection as a whole, the project staff plans to begin publishing texts from the collection in the Gandharan Buddhist Texts series as soon as possible.
Archaeological artefacts and sculptures from the Indian sub continent, which includes Gandharan objects, and those from Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia currently appeal most strongly to collectors in the west, and the minority collecting areas of south east Asia, such as classical period tenth twelfth century sculpture from Cambodia, offer much scope.
At Sotheby's on 24 March a new auction record price was set for Gandharan art when a monumental and beautiful standing Buddha of the second/third century realised $736,000.
For, as far as it is possible to ascribe, at least tentatively, reliefs depicting the parinirvana of the Buddha preserved in Gandharan art to specific Buddhist schools, there is only one, perhaps two, reliefs connected to the Dharmaguptakas, but five to the Sarvastivadins, and seven to the Mulasarvastivadins.
Gandharan sculpture, identified by its style, comes from the northwest portion of the Indian subcontinent, around Peshawar and Islamabad on the upper reaches of the Indus River system in modern Pakistan, but stretching into modern Afghanistan as well.
The big Buddha heads are typically Gandharan in style, according to the archaeologists.
His discussion here may be supplemented with his study, "Begram, the Periplus and Gandharan Art," Journal of Roman Archaeology 2 (1989): 93-100, where Whitehouse offers commentary on dating the entire Begram cache.
Alongside the icons depicting the Enlightened One, in accordance with the symbolism developed by artists to allude to the supernatural condition on which his state as Buddha depended, the exhibition also includes examples of Gandharan narrative stone reliefs and princely figures of bodhisatvas, whose enchanted gaze reveals they have glimpsed nirvana beyond the veil.
The interaction between India and the classical world which was a feature of much Gandharan art can be found in a grey schist Gandharan figure of Atlante (2nd-3rd century AD) at Brussels-based Luc Decruyenaere, while London dealer Finch & Co.
He was of the view that Japan and Pakistan have been linked by shared history, especially through the Gandharan Buddhism, and this MoU would hopefully revive the similar linkages between the two countries.