Rienjang W. (ed.) 2018. Problems of Chronology in Gandhāran Art. p149-164 by Kurt Behrendt. DOI: 10.32028/9781784918552P149-164.|
This study attempts to characterize the late horizon of Gandhāra’s sacred architectural tradition in an effort to address larger questions of chronology. In particular, I examine the issue of earthquakes and the consequent repair or replacement of existing structures and imagery. In this light, the sudden or punctuated reconceptualization of the sacred precincts following the collapse of old structures is particularly telling as it reveals the changing interests of patrons. Focusing on the micro-chronologies of a series of small sites, this paper traces modifications to the sacred area. Changing structural typologies will be considered in conjunction with categories of recovered sculpture and numismatic evidence. After starting with the Taxila sites of Kālawān and Jauliāñ, where evolving masonry techniques allow chronologically distinct construction phases to be distinguished (Figure 1) (Behrendt 2004: 255ff.), developments in the Peshawar Basin are considered, focusing on the sites of Mekhasanda and Ranigat. Drawing on these micro-chronologies some broad observations can be made regarding the development of the massive sacred precincts of Takht-i-Bāhī, Butkara I, and the Dharmarājikā complex. Together I hope this evidence offers a foundation for better understanding the changing Gandhāran architectural and sculptural tradition.
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