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De-fragmenting Gandhāran art: advancing analysis through digital imaging and visualization
Author: Ian Haynes, Iwan Peverett, Wannaporn Rienjang with contributions by Luca M. Olivieri. DOI: 10.32028/9781789696950-10.ISBN 9781789696950-10.
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Students of Gandhāran art are necessarily acutely conscious of the impact of fragmentation upon their field. The very attributes that have drawn scholars to Gandhāra’s visual culture have also, historically, made it vulnerable to patterns of collection that would invite universal condemnation today. Sculpture has been hewn from the structures for which it was originally created, often leaving it without a documented provenance, almost always without a specific archaeological context.2 Not infrequently, sculptural groups have ended up at diverse locations, in different collections, circumstances that present their own challenges for researchers, even where the relationship between dispersed pieces is recognized. This paper considers two approaches that may both help mitigate these difficulties and offer new avenues of research. The first approach addresses the value of object scanning, focusing particularly on issues relating to the high-relief schist sculptures that characterize Gandhāran art. The second uses the remains of Saidu Sharif in Pakistan, an exceptionally well-excavated and documented site, as the basis from which to explore the potential for digital visualization of sites. It argues that the generation of such visualizations, or ‘provocations’, has its own value as an analytical method, testing hypotheses about the interplay of art, architecture, and agency.

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