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.
Relief frieze with busts between pilasters, grey schist, 1st century AD, Swat valley.
Height: 0.06 m, Length: 0.65 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 excavated during their expedition to the Swat valley in 1938. This no. 58 in Barger's lists.
This narrow frieze has a row of squat pillars, each ornamented with an incised longitudinal line down the middle with a capital and stepped base. Busts of youthful-looking men with plump cheeks and bulging eyes peer out in alternate directions from between them. The figures all have hair tied in top knots and are wearing uttariysa wound over the front of their upper bodies, with the ends of some draped over a shoulder. They rest one arm on a ledge while an unidentified segmental object rests on their other side On the right hand end there is a rectangular panel and the frieze has a plain fillet along the bottom and a convex moulding along the top decorated with a foliate motif.
There is a slot at either end along the top edge which runs from front to back. There are also traces of mortar on the back of the stone IM.861939 (the left hand part) has a V-shaped incision on the top edge and the other right hand part, IM.86A-1939, has a pair of parallel diagonal scratch marks. Additionally there is a back slot on the rear of the piece running down from the slot on the top edge.