Islamabad : Pakistan loaned 173 Gandhara art pieces to China that will be displayed on Feb 15 at the Palace Museum Forbidden City, reported Dawn.
The Department of Archaeology and Museums has loaned 173 masterpieces of Gandhara art from the Peshawar, Swat, Dir, Hund, Taxila, Karachi, and Islamabad museums for an exhibition in Beijing that will run for three months. As per officials, it will open new vistas of cooperation in museums, and cultural heritage between the two countries, reported Dawn.
The provincial departments of archaeology in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provided active support and loaned some of the best specimens of Gandhara art from their collections for the exhibition.
"Dignitaries and top officials from Pakistan will attend the event. Pakistan Embassy in China, the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan played a key role in materializing this important event. The exhibition will open new vistas of cooperation in the fields of museums and cultural heritage between China and Pakistan," Deputy Director of the Department of Archaeology and Museums Dr Mehmoodul Hassan said.
Joint projects with Palace Museum in these fields would help in capacity building of the institutions to preserve and promote cultural heritage of the nation, he said, reported Dawn.
The last time Pakistan loaned such a huge consignment of ancient artifacts was in 2008. As many as 250 historical items were loaned to Germany. These artifacts were also exhibited in Switzerland and France, before returning home in 2011.
The Chinese had also requested 250 items; however, Lahore Museum was unable to contribute due to administrative reasons.
Besides life-size and small statues of Siddhartha and Buddha, which depict his birth, early palace life and the periods after enlightenment, the artifacts also include Greek specimens from the best 2nd-century to 5th-century AD collection discovered from Swat, Gandhara and Taxila valleys, reported Dawn.
Islamabad Museum has also loaned 10 specimens, including a gold Greek 2nd-century bowl.