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 Harald Ingholt, Gandharan Art in Pakistan, Pantheon Books,New York, 1957.
Curved relief showing figures under caitya arches and pipal tendril, grey schist, 2nd century AD, Swat Valley.
Height: 15.5 cm, Length: 37 cm
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 is No. 112 in Barger's lists. The lower register of carved scrolling pipal leaves bears a similarity in its low relief carving to a panel in the Peshawar Museum,Pakistan (see Ingholt, No. 463 ,p.172). The curved shape of the piece suggests it was originally part of the decoration of a stupa drum.
This slab is divided into several horizontal registers. On the lowest there is an undulating stem with tendril offsets each bearing four pipal leaves, that is carved in fairly low relief in a broad band. A more deeply carved register is bordered at the bottom and at the top by narrow mouldings of leaf motifs and saw tooth decoration respectively. The band in deeper relief has a row of four indo-iranian ( sometimes referred to as Persepolitan) columns between which there are caitya arches from the volutes of which hang bunches of some form of fruits either side of plain battered projecting bases. Within these arches are standing male figures in a variety of frontal poses which are now all in a variety of abraded conditions.
The panel is curved and the two ends of the top side have square cramp mortices. The mortice on the upper right hand side pierces through the top fillet adjacent to the capital of the right hand pilaster, the abacus of which obtrudes half way across the square-sectioned mortice hole, which is therefore L-shaped in section. The rear of the panel has lines of roughly vertically slanting chisel marks over the left portion with an off-centre pin-hole at the right hand edge of these marks. The stone slab is deeper on the chiselled portion which tapers slightly over the smoother opposite part. A fissure runs down the right side at the back to the thicker base.