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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 ?
According to officials, the Unesco-designed project was completed over a year in three phases - capacity building of museum staff on digitalisation of around 23,000 antiquities, developing a web application with QR codes that allows visitors to engage with artifacts safely and securely for education purpose, and training of teachers from various educational institutions on the Gandharan civilisation.
A one-and-a-half year venture, the project was broken down into three components; firstly, museum staff were trained and capacitated to develop a digital inventory of Museum artefacts; secondly, the educational role of the museum was improved by developing a web application with QR codes that allow visitors to engage with the artefacts safely and securely; thirdly, in order to generate interest among children by creating interactive material for them to learn about the Gandharan Civilizations, and encourage them to become 'ambassadors of cultural heritage', the project also trained teachers to educate students about heritage.
A spread from Les Voix du siecle (1953) showing the 13th-century Le Sourire de Reims (verso) and a 4th-century Gandharan head from Afghanistan (recto)
This volume confirms Gerard Fussman's legacy as, among his other achievements, the godfather of the modern era of Gandharan studies.
Although it is coincidental that Islamabad is in the neighbourhood of Gandharan civilization, but if it can safeguard its cultural heritage and promote the many centres of advance learning, besides being the seat of government, perhaps it can prove to be a living successor to it today!
He said that after a gap of five years, Pakistan has sent Gandharan Relics of Lord Buddha for a month long exposition in Sri Lanka, for the Buddhist devotees, from May 19 to June 26 on the occasion of Visak Festival in Sri Lanka.
1) The scene is clearly represented in Gandharan reliefs (figure 3) of the 3rd-4th century, and reappears--less clearly--in art of the Theravada in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand and Cambodia more than 1,000 years later.
The big Buddha heads are typically Gandharan in style, according to the archaeologists.
Among the topics are scribal annotation as evidence of learning in manuscripts from the first Byzantine humanism: the "Philosophical Collection," multiglossia in West African manuscripts: the case of Borno in Nigeria, Gandharan scrolls: rediscovering an ancient manuscript type, a palaeographic study of a Buddhist manuscript from the Gilgit region: a glimpse into a scribe's workshop, developing a typology of writing styles in early Tibet, and manuscripts found within Chinese religious statues.
Bucherer gives the example of a dealer he met who was demanding $40,000 for an exquisite and rare Gandharan piece which the latter had purchased for $30,000.
Here, related studies by Charles Allen about Western scholarship on Gandharan Art and early Buddhism in India form a useful complement to the West-East undertones already noted by Holt in his portrayal of Tarn versus Narain (67-77).
The positing of a Central Asian medium of transmission of the collection to China based on a set of summaries finds an antecedent in similar types of digests that are attested in the same area, in Gandharan and Khotanese Buddhist literature.