The Gandhara Connections project aims to understand Gandharan art in its ancient
contexts, fostering fresh discussion of its puzzling cross-cultural connections and other
archaeological problems. But at the same time, the significance of this extraordinary
tradition is inevitably rooted in the concerns and preoccupations of the modern world.
In this fourth international workshop of the Project, we seek to stimulate an exchange of
new information and ideas about two aspects of Gandharan art in the modern world.
Firstly, we will examine the ‘rediscovery’ of Gandharan culture in the nineteenth and
twentieth centuries. To what extent can the consideration of museum collections, archival
documents, and other evidence help us to reconstitute lost information about the
provenance and meaning of Gandharan artefacts and sites? And a broader question: how
is such evidence shaped and mediated by the experience of Gandhara in the context of
colonial rule? Can we – and should we – try to think Gandharan art out of that political,
cultural, and ideological setting in which it was first recognized as an academic field?
Secondly, we will consider the subsequent shifting, and often disputed, significance of
Gandharan art in different places and periods, in South Asia and Central Asia, in Europe,
America and the Far East; in world museums, private collections and the controversial
antiquities market; in public perceptions of cross-cultural connections and the so-called
‘Silk Road’; from narratives of national identity and cultural heritage, to popular ideas of
ancient and modern globalization….
Bringing together an international line-up of invited speakers from different institutional and
disciplinary backgrounds, the objective of the workshop is not to undermine attempts to
study Gandharan art objectively, but to cast light on the modern contexts which are bound
to frame, enliven, and sometimes impede that effort.
Because of covid19 restrictions, this year’s workshop will be hosted online via Zoom, with informal
interaction on Spatial Chat. Details available after booking. The event will also be recorded.