A Mathuran Style Buddha from Badalpur, Taxila Valley: A Reassessment of the Evidence and New Tentative Dating
Keywords:Taxila, Badalpur, Mathura, Seated Buddha, Red Sandstone
Among the many flourishing Buddhist complexes in the Taxila Valley, the Badalpur monastic complex seems to be one of the largest, spreading over an extensive area of 2.9 acres (1.17 hectares) on the left bank of the Haro River, around 10 km north-east of Taxila Museum. The Badalpur complex could accommodate at a time more monks and pilgrims than any other monastery in the vicinity. Small scale salvage excavations were first undertaken at this site by V. Natesa Aiyar but with no significant findings in term of artifacts. However, more extensive excavations carried out by the Department of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Pakistan from 2005 to 2009 provided scholars with
plenty of artifacts for them to study, and revealed that actually the site consists of two separate monasteries, obviously to accomodate the needs of the growing community of monks and pilgrims. Amongst the most notable findings, the Badalpur complex preserved a Buddha statue of Mathuran style in dhyanamudra carved in red sandstone. Some important and unique details of this precious sculpture are missing in earlier descriptions, as well as those details useful to tentatively date this sculpture. This paper aims at outlining: (a) the links between
Taxila and Mathura regions during the peak period of Buddhism, (b) reassess the details visible on the sculpture, and (c) to attempt to date our Buddha figure through comparisons with similar known Mathuran Sculptures. This preliminary assessment paves the way to further research.