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Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’

NEW DISCOVERY IN PAKISTAN DATING BACK TO MAURYAN AND KUSHAN DYNASTIES IN SWAT, PAKISTAN

Archeologists excavated in April and June of 2016 layers  of cities associated with  Indo-Greek, Mauryan and Kushan cultures.
Mauryan settlements dating to the third century BC – think of the great Mauryan king Ashoka, the  grandson of the founder of the dynasty who vigorously promoted Buddhism among other things with carved edicts  on pillars of stone and wood from Bengal  to Afghanistan.  Some of us have admired the great lion capital in Sarnath from a time when episodes  and symbols from Buddha’s life  were portrayed – in this case the lotus and the wheel of law – instead of the later  presentations of Buddha  – seen first in the arts of Gandharan and Mathura.
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Archeologists also excavated a large temple with four pillars belonging to the Kushan era, 2nd century BC to second century AD. The Kushans dominated the areas of the Hindu Kush into Kabul, Gandhara, northern Pakistan and north-western India. They controlled the trade between China in the east and the Romans in the west. Under the famous Kushan ruler Kanishka ( 144 to 172 AD) Buddhist settlements flourished including Gandhara with its distinctive Graeco – Buddhist art form that influenced the arts in Central Asia and then China.
I first read about this discovery in Buddhist Art News:
Cheers,
Elisabeth and Natasha
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AGA KHAN MUSEUM OPENS IN TORONTO

October 13, 2014 Leave a comment

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http://www.akdn.org/museum/collections.asp

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The first museum in North America entirely dedicated to the arts of Islam and Islamic cultures opened in Toronto in September. Founded by His Highness the Aga Khan, pieces in the museum have been collected by His Highness and members of his family for several generations. About two hundred pieces from the permanent collection will be on display at any one time.

The two inaugural exhibits are:

IN SEARCH OF THE ARTIST: SIGNED DRAWINGS AND PAINTINGS FROM THE AGA KHAN MUSEUM COLLECTION, open through November 16th.

THE GARDEN OF IDEAS: CONTEMPORARY ART FROM PAKISTAN, open through January 18th.

The museum has some 1000 pieces of art and artifacts, covering one thousand years of Islamic history and including works of Muslim civilizations from the Iberian Peninsula to China.

Where else can you find:

Arts of the Book

Carpets and Textiles

Ceramics, Mosaic

Ivory and Mother-of-pearl

Marble and Stucco

Glass, Rock Crystal and Jade

Metalwork

Paintings

Wood and Lacquer

Carpets-and-Textiles

 

Cheers,

Elisabeth

SAVING FACE

February 20, 2012 Leave a comment
SHARMEEN OBAID CHINOY just became the first Pakistani to be nominated for an Academy Award  for her film
 
SAVING FACE
 
in the Best Documentary category.
 
Chinoy has already won an International Emmy award. With this film about British-Pakistani plastic surgeon Dr. Mohammad Jawad,  she shows the work  of Dr. Jawad  who travelled to Pakistan to perform reconstructive surgery on women who have been victims of acid attacks. The film is scheduled to  premier on HBO on March 8, 2012. Here is the link to Asia Society’s interview of Chinoy and her work. 
 
My own comments: Pakistan has many incredibly talented women in many professions and we need to become aware of their power and gifts and the culture they are working in and with, especially as they are  trying to help the women marginalized by their society. 
 
 
 

LADAKH IN THE NEWS

November 16, 2011 Leave a comment

LADAKH IN THE NEWS

Until my son went to Ladakh I had no idea where it was.
 
Ladakh is part of northern and eastern Kashmir, northwestern India, and administratively is divided between Pakistan and India. It lies between the Kunlun mountains in the north and the Himalayas to the south. It is often called “little Tibet” because it is strongly influenced by Tibetan culture and Tibetan Buddhism.  My son went to Leh a few years ago which is the largest town in Ladakh. 
 
THE CENTRAL ASIAN MUSEUM IN LEH
 
held a preview opening on August 23rd, 2011, and is scheduled to open officially in July 2012. It came about through major international cooperation, with major help from  Saleem Beg, Director of J & K tourism, the Ladakhi historian Abdul Ghani, was designed by  Andre Alexander, co-director of the Tibetan Heritage Fund, and was constructed with the help of Habitat Unit, School of Architecture, Berlin University of Technology, and with the help of local artisans and volunteers. 
 
 The October 2011 Orientation magazine has a detailed article about this museum.   You can also read more at  http://tibetheritagefund.org/pages/projects/ladakh/central-asian-museum.php
 
The museum is situated in the Tsas Soma gardens, at the former crossroads of Central Asian caravan routes. Ladakh was an important place during the caravan trade- until the occupation of Tibet in the 1950s. 
 
The building resembles a Tibetan-Ladakhi fortress tower but inside it displays cultural objects from  Tibetan, Hindu, Muslim and Ladakhi  culture. The ground floor ( first floor for Americans)  serves to put Ladakh into its geographical, historical and cultural context. The first floor (or second floor)  houses textiles and trade items from  Central Asia illustrating  Muslim culture from Kashmir, Xinjiang and Uzbekistan. The second floor (or third floor)  focuses on Tibet and Ladakh’s Buddhist past. The third floor is built as an example of Baltistani architecture. I assume this refers to the Balti, an ethnic group with Tibetan roots in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, Kashmir. 
 
 
HEAVENLY HIMALAYAS:THE MURALS OF MANGYU AND OTHER DISCOVERIES IN LADAKH
A book by Peter van Ham

Published by  Prestel, Munich, Berlin, London, New York, 12010
Manguy is a small village in western Ladakh. The book is extensively illustrated and focuses on Buddhist iconography in connection with wall paintings and painted surfaces of main statues found in temples, towers and stupas in this village.  My favorite book store – paragonbook.com  has the book.

NEW “SILK ROAD”

October 9, 2011 1 comment
Who cannot  get excited about the Silk Road? Who has been there? I know of a few friends and it is on my Bucket List to ride out on a camel into the Gobi desert !
 
Afghanistan and its neighbors embarked on the Silk Road initiative to bring  prosperity and peace by linking markets across South and Central Asia. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Foreign Minister from Afghanistan Zalmai Rassoul, and Guido Westerwelle, German Foreign Minister are hosting talks in New York October 6th, 2011 to plan a  NEW SILK ROAD.
 
This meeting which will include participants from a number of countries will later continue in Istanbul.
 
A number of bi-lateral agreements already exist in the region despite some tensions…..but Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India will be among the more than twenty-two countries who are expected to be involved. 
 
Who is ready to go?

THE BUDDHIST HERITAGE OF PAKISTAN: ART OF GANDHARA

 
If you cannot travel to Pakistan, you may want to travel to New York and see THE BUDDHIST HERITAGE OF PAKISTAN: ART OF GANDHARA, showing August 9th  to October 30th, 2011 at the ASIA SOCIETY. Melissa Chiu, the director of  Asia Society Museum explained that this exhibit faced almost insurmountable problems threatening the exhibit and delaying its opening.  Bringing sculpture, architectural reliefs and works of art of gold and bronze, dating from the third century B.C. to the fifth century A.D.,  from several museums in Pakistan to New York was important since Gandharan art was not very well represented in American museums – and the exhibit might help restore some of the troubled feelings between Americans and Pakistanis. 
 
Remember Alexander the Great and his expedition into India in 330/325 B.C. ? This young warrior was responsible for introducing Hellenism to the area. Hellenistic or Graeco-Roman artistic features combined with Hindu  and India’s Buddhist iconography developed into Gandharan art  in what is now North West India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Stone and stucco were used. And some of us have seen and remember the Bamyan Buddha statues in Afghanistan……..

THE ART OF GANDHARA: A LECTURE

ASIA SOCIETY TEXAS CENTER , Houston
(asiasociety.org/centers/texas)

THE ART OF GANDHARA: A LECTURE

Thursday June 9, 2011 at 6:30PM, Brown Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, lecture by Dr. Pia Brancaccio, Associate Professor of Art History, Drexel University.

The few of us who have seen the Bamyan Buddha statues prior to Taliban destruction in 2001, will forever be in awe of these gigantic statues in once peaceful Bamyan Valley. One of the major schools that developed the visual style of the art of Buddhism, Gandharan art was centered in a region of cultural crossroads, in what is now eastern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan. Between the conquests of Alexander the Great in the fourth century B.C. and the Islamic conquests in the seventh century A.D., and under the auspices of the great missionary centers under emperor Ashoka during the third century B.C., Gandharan art developed of Graeco-Roman origin, influenced by Central Asian and Iranian styles, and contemporaneous with the different style of the Kushan school. Under the Graeco-Bactrian kingdom the first human representation of Buddha developed as an amalgam of eastern and western cultural traditions, later influencing the art of Mathura, Gupta, then
extending to Southeast Asia, and via the Silk Road ultimately reaching China, Korea and Japan.