Seven (not so) Easy Pieces: A Note on Some Found Objects from Gandhāra


  • Alice Casalini PhD Candidate (Buddhist Art), University of Chicago


Gandhara Art, Butkara I, Swat


Recently, a few sculptural fragments with no provenance information were found in the warehouses of the Italian Archaeological Mission (MAI) at Saidu Sharif Mission House in Mingora. The fragments were found in a box of objects collected or excavated in the late 1950s or early 1960s. The 2005 earthquake caused the old wooden shelving in the storage rooms to collapse and the original basket with the provenance information fell, with hundreds of others. In the following years, all baskets were reconstructed with patient collection work, thanks to the fact that Mission had (and still has) the habit of inking each piece, whether it was a sculptural or pottery fragment. Very few pieces remained un-inked. Being part of this small group, some of these pieces lost their provenance information. Therefore, this note presents an attempt to reconstruct the provenance of these objects and discuss their iconography. In addition to these pieces, which have been inventoried as Varia New Series (VSN) and handed over to the Swat Museum, there is one from a stratigraphic context, from Barikot, already at the Museum, which has features that have suggested the hand of one of the sculptors of Butkara I or Saidu Sharif I.




How to Cite

Casalini, A. (2024). Seven (not so) Easy Pieces: A Note on Some Found Objects from Gandhāra. Journal of Asian Civilizations, 46(2), 55–86. Retrieved from