Barger, E. and Wright, P., ‘Excavations in Swat and Explorations in the Oxus Territories of Afghanistan, a detailed report of the 1938 expedition’, Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of India, vol. 64, Calcutta, 1941, No 170.p.23. pl.VII,fig. 3.
Relief panel, possibly a step riser, with amorini bearing garlands, grey schist, late 3rd Century AD, Swat valley.
Height: 0.155 m, Length: 0.78 m
Acquired from Evert Barger, Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Bristol and Philip Wright, V&A Museum, as part of the collection of finds from Swat excavated during their expedition to the Swat valley in 1938. It is described as a riser, as it conforms to the types of risers found at Jamalgarhi, now in the British Museum, but no evidence of steps was discovered during the excavation.
This relief panel may have been a step riser. The projecting base with a half round moulding supports the carved relief of a row of amorini supporting a garland set within a carved frame consisting of a plain border with saw tooth ornamentation running along the top and over two end panels carved with a zig-zag pattern enclosing half rosettes.
The figures are carved set back within the plane of the borders. Five of the chubby figures, two of which appear to be naked, hold up an undulating garland while four further ones are shown behind in its dipping loops. They are wearing loosely twisted turbans with topknots. and anklets above their feet. All are playing musical instruments; variously from the left a rattle worked with a foot, the pipes of Pan, a trumpet-like instrument, a tambourine, a flute, two indeterminate instruments, cymbals and a drum.
The fat garland is made up of pointed leaves bound with a ribbon, but the second loop from the right is carved with beaded ridges and criss-crossed segments. Three mango-like fruits are draped over two of the dipping loops alternating with tassels and splayed-out drapery. Both ends of the garland terminate in what resembles the hind legs of a quadruped.