Art is a type of Buddhist art which developed between 1st century BC and 7th
century AD in Gandhara region, which is northwestern Pakistan and eastern
Afghanistan today. Also known as Greco-Buddhist art, it developed when
artistic influences from Greek and Rome mixed with Buddhist traditions of
Afghanistan. Under patronising of Kushan kings, Gandhara Art new heights. At
the same time, a different style of art was developing at Mathura in India.
Style and Its Evolution
Buddhas of Gandhara Art are Greek monarchs wearing the light
toga-resembling himation. The structures where the art forms are placed are
developed in Greek style. Pantheon of Greek and Indian deities encircle
these deities. Initial Gandhara art was extremely fine and realistic.
However, with time, it lost its sophisticated realism, and became more
symbolic and decorative.
Gandhara Art is fine fusion of Indian and Roman schools. Motifs and
techniques of classical Roman art such as vine scrolls, tritons, cherubs
bearing garlands and centaurs are incorporated. Yet the basic iconography is
In the beginning years of Gandhara Art, green phyllite and gray-blue mica
schist were used. However, after the 3rd century AD, artists started using
stucco. In the time of their making, Gandhara sculptures were painted and
Gandhara Centres of Culture
Taxila, Swat and Charsaddah (old Pushkalavati) were main centres of
Gandhara Art. Hundreds of monasteries and stupas were built in these places.
During the course of centuries Gandhara Art developed in these towns. Today
pieces of Ganbdhara sculpture occupy place of pride in museums of India,
Pakistan, China, Korea, Japan, England, France, Germany and USA. Sculpture
of 'Fasting Buddha', displayed in Lahore Museum of Pakistan is the
masterpiece of Gandhara Art.