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Pakistan loaned 173 Gandhara art pieces to China

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan loaned one of the largest consignments of masterpieces of Gandhara art to China for a 3month long exhibition in Beijing. The Dept of Archaeology called 173 masterpieces of Gandhara art from Peshawar, Swat, Dir, Taxila, Karachi and Islamabad museums. The artifacts will go on display on Feb 15 at the Palace Museum Forbidden City. The exhibition will run for three months.

The provincial departments of archaeology in KP and Punjab had loaned some of the best specimens of Gandhara art.

At the Exhibition Palace Museum Forbidden City

The Palace Museum is one the most prestigious and largest institutions of China for promotion and preservation of cultural heritage. Deputy Director of the Dept. Dr Mehmoodul Hassan said the exhibition will open new vistas of cooperation in the area of cultural heritage.

The Dignitaries and top officials from Pakistan will attend the exhibition. The foreign office and embassies of both countries played a key role in materializing this event.

Palace Museum will provide cooperation and assistance to its Pakistani counterparts in the fields of archaeological research. Besides conservation of monuments, documentation, and treatment of museum artifacts and scholarships for young Pakistani professionals.

Joint projects with Palace Museum in these fields would help in capacity building of the institutions to preserve and promote cultural heritage of the nation, said Dr Hassan.

artifacts to Germany

Pakistan had loaned a similarly huge consignment of ancient artifacts to Germany in 2008. As many as 250 historical items were loaned to Germany. These artifacts were also exhibited in Switzerland and France, before returning home in 2011.

The Chinese had also requested for 250 items; however, Lahore Museum was unable to contribute due to administrative reasons.

Besides life size and small statues of Siddhartha and Buddha, which depict his birth, early palace life and the periods after enlightenment, the artifacts also include Greek specimens from the best 2nd century to 5th century AD collection discovered from Swat, Gandhara and Taxila valleys.

Islamabad Museum has also loaned 10 specimens, including a gold Greek 2nd century bowl.

Dr Hassan said the exhibition was part of the 70th anniversary of friendly and diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China.

“To ensure befitting participation of Pakistan in the celebrations and to promote its cultural wealth at the international level, the Department of Archaeology and Museums, National Heritage and Culture Division, Islamabad, is arranging this grand exhibition of the Buddhist Art of Gandhara at Palace Museum (Forbidden City), Beijing,” he added.

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