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H 245 x W 174 mm

166 pages

22 figures, 8 tables, 4 maps (colour throughout)

Published Jul 2024

Archaeopress Archaeology


Paperback: 9781803277615

Digital: 9781803277622

DOI 10.32028/9781803277615

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Art; Architecture; Culture; Indus Civilisations; Aegean Civilisations; Indo-Greek Kingdoms; Gandhara

Related titles

Art of Ancient India and the Aegean

Fortuitous Parallels or Cultural Contacts?

By A.S. Bhalla

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This book examines similarities and differences between art in ancient Indian (Indus) civilizations and that of the Aegean civilizations. The comparison raises questions about possible cross-cultural influences, which became more significant following Alexander’s invasion and the subsequent adaptation of Indian art under the Indo-Greek kingdoms.



ForewordDr Dimitrios Th. Vassiliadis



Issues relating to Chronology

Definition. Scope and Coverage of Art

Structure of the Book

1. A Brief Introduction to Ancient Societies

Indus (India)

Minoan (Crete)

Mycenaean (Greek Mainland)


2. Egalitarianism, Elitism and Prestige Goods

Towards a Framework of Analysis

How Unequal or Elitist were Ancient Societies?


3. The Art of the Indus Valley and the Aegean



Male Busts and Stone Figures

Frescoes and Paintings

Seals and Signet Rings



Concluding Remarks

4. The Indus Valley and Minoan Crete:Fortuitous Parallels or Cultural/Historical Contacts?

Parallels between the Indus Valley and Minoan Crete

Indirect Contacts

Direct Contacts

Cross-Cultural Influences in Ancient Art

Functionality of Ancient Art

Concluding Remarks

5. Direct Greek Influences on Indian Gandhara Art




Seals and Signet Rings




Concluding Remarks

6. Conclusion: Patronage, Pomp and Power

Royal and Elite Patronage

The Social Context

Peace and Stability

Parallels between the Indus and the Aegean: Coincidence or Contacts?

Concluding Remarks



About the Author

Dr A.S. Bhalla is a former Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, UK, and former Special Adviser to the President of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Ottawa, Canada. He has held academic positions at the Universities of Cambridge, Manchester, Oxford and Yale. His previous publications on the history of art include Royal Tombs of India, Buddhist Art in Asia, Monuments, Power and Poverty in India: From Ashoka to the Raj, Glimpses of Medieval Switzerland, and Imperial India: A Pictorial History.


'The author has touched upon a very interesting yet difficult topic. A must-read for anyone interested in understanding the cultural influences of the Greeks on Indian art and culture. He provides excellent, thought-provoking views with comprehensive information and debate about the subject. I recommend this book because there is no other book in the market that captures this segment of history in such detail. It challenges many traditional views on the subject.' – Dr Asma Ibrahim, Founding Director, Museum Archives and Art Gallery Department, State Bank of Pakistan

'This book provides a general comparative study of the ancient Indian and Greek civilizations. It expresses some original views and insightful possible explanations of the similarities and differences between them. It examines their art in a social context. In this sense, it expands this work in a research area not frequently pursued.' – Dr Georgia Flouda, Head of Department of Prehistoric and Minoan Antiquities, Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete