Estb. 1882

University of the Punjab

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Dr Muhammad Hameed Chairman Department of Archaeology University of the Punjab Lahore Pakistan participated in the Panel discussion as one of the experts to highlight archaeological, historical, cultural, artists and religious significance of Gandhara Heritage in the 5 Days event entitled," Gandhara Festival: Roots or Routes", organised at Taxila Museum. Secretary Tourism and Archaeology Capt. (R) Mushtaq Ahmad was the chief guest. Dr. Saifur Rahman Dar (T.I), Former Director Lahore Museum and Founder Director General of Punajb Archaeology and Custodian of Taxila Museum from (1963-1969), presented the key note address on the title " Gandhara Heritage VS Taxila Heritage: What does Gandhara owe to Taxila". Dr. Dar emphasized on highlighting the individualty and identity of Taxila through the centuries as the most important center of all religious, cultural, social, economic and anthropological activities. He further elaborated that Taxila has its own personality which needs to be given equal importance and in future Taxila Festival should be celebrated here.
Dr Zubaida Youssef, who recently completed her PHD under the supervision of Dr. Muhammad Farooq Swati, presented her paper about the continuity of wearing "Patka" in Pre and Post Gandharan cultures.
Professor Dr. Rifaat Dar who herself holds the only PhD on Stucco Sculpture from Gandhara and Taxila valley, Moderated the Panel discussion and shared her expertise about History of Gandhara.
Diptychs were used as religious objects in Gandhara. These diptychs were primarily used by individuals such as travellers, traders, missionaries, and others. These individuals travelled extensively and presumably only had little time to visit religious institutions. The portable shrines accompanied the individuals on their journey. During the journey, the diptychs were lost on the way. Therefore, these have been found far beyond their place of origin. The discovery of the two Buddhist diptychs from Khotan confirms that shrines travelled great distances.
In Gandhara, the Buddhist diptychs were used as the additional medium of narrating the Buddha’s life. During the 5/6th century, the miniature portable shrines in the form of diptychs became popular. These diptychs and their imagery reflect the sacred nature and religious significance of such objects.
Portable shrines are a distinctive category of religious objects that remained popular for a considerable period. These tiny objects are not only responsible for the diffusion of the Buddhist iconography and mythology towards Central and Eastern Asia but also equally significant for introducing the concept of using portable shrines. The study also helps to understand the role of Gandhara as a bridge for spreading the concept and use of portable shrines from the Mediterranean world to Central and East Asia. In Chinese and Korean Buddhism, diptychs are still being used as portable shrines. This study also helps us to understand that people living in Central and Eastern Asia learned the concept of using portable shrines from Gandhara and Kashmir, particularly in the form of diptychs. According to Lerner and Kossak “The mechanics of the dissemination of Buddhist doctrine, iconography, and styles throughout south Asia and the Far East were largely implemented through the travels of Indian missionary monks, merchants, and foreigners who carried texts and portable icons of all sorts from India to lands far distant from those where the Buddha lived out his life”. the shrines played a significant role in the dissemination of Gandharan artistic tradition and transmitting Buddhist ideology along the Silk Road. Moreover, a comparison between the portable shrines from Gandhara and Central Asia clearly suggests that the latter got this idea from India. The way diptychs and triptychs were manufactured in Central Asia and life episodes of the Buddha were depicted indicate Indian source of inspiration. For the comparison and Buddhist portable shrines from Central Asia.