Shaji-ki-Dheri

1899 engraving showing the remnants of the Kanishka stupa in Shaji-ki-Dheri.

Shaji-ki-Dheri is the site of an ancient Kanishka stupa about 6 kilometers from Peshawar, Pakistan.[1]

French archaeologist Alfred Charles Auguste Foucher, who was a professor at the University of Paris, had visited Peshawar towards the end of the 19th century, and had noticed two mounds southeast of Peshawar outside the walled city. He tried to relate them to Hiuen Tsang's description of the place. The excavations began. American archaeologist David Brainard Spooner conducted excavations there in 1908-09 for the Archaeological Survey of India leading to the identification of the Kanishka stupa dated to the 2nd century CE, and the discovery of the Kanishka casket.[2] Spooner published a paper following the excavations: "Excavation at Shaji-ki-dheri: Annual Reports of the Archaeological Survey of India 1908–09".[3]

Many statues of the Buddha at Shaji-ki-Dheri feature a halo similar to the haloes seen in the Buddha coins of Kanishka I, suggesting a 2nd century CE date for the creation of the statues, rather than the usual datation to the 3-4th century CE.[4]

References

  1. ^ The Grandeur of Gandhara: The Ancient Buddhist Civilization of the Swat, Peshawar, Kabul and Indus Valleys, Rafi U. Samad, Algora Publishing, 2011, p.146 [1]
  2. ^ The Grandeur of Gandhara: The Ancient Buddhist Civilization of the Swat, Peshawar, Kabul and Indus Valleys, Rafi U. Samad, Algora Publishing, 2011, p.146 [2]
  3. ^ The Cambridge World History: Volume 3, Early Cities in Comparative Perspective, 4000 BCE–1200 CE, Norman Yoffee, Cambridge University Press, 2015 [3]
  4. ^ Tanabe, Katsumi (1974). "KANISHKA I COINS WITH THE BUDDHA IMAGE ON THE REVERSE AND SOME REFERENCES TO THE ART OF GANDHARA". Orient. 10: 37. ISSN 1884-1392.

Further reading

  • Fenet, Annick (2020): « "In other words, authentic relics of the Buddha himself !" La fouille du stūpa de Kanishka à Shāh-jī-kī-Dherī (février-mars 1909) », in S. Alaura (ed.), Digging in the archives. From the history of oriental studies to the history of ideas, Roma (Documenta Asiana XI), 2020, p. 63-90
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