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40 Gandharan objects from KP displayed in Korean exhibition

40 Gandharan objects from KP displayed in Korean exhibition

PESHAWAR: Forty Gandharan objects returned to the Peshawar Museum after three months of display at an exhibition held in the South Korean capital of Seoul.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Director Archaeology and Museums Dr Abdul Samad told Dawn that the exhibition was held in the Korean capital to promote religious tourism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as Koreans considered Gandhara — encompassing the present-day Peshawar Valley — a sacred place.

Buddhism reached Korea in the 4th century AD from a small village called Chota Lahor in Swabi district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A Buddhist monk named Maralanda travelled to Korea via China and introduced Mahayana sect of Buddhism there, it is said.

Dr Samad said the purpose of the exhibition was to highlight the importance of KP as well as Pakistan as a country having attractions for religious tourists, pilgrims or followers of Buddhism.

Around 5,000 visitors atten­d­ed the exhibition in three months and were said to be im­pres­sed with the artefacts, the official said.

Pakistan, he added, set an example as it was a Muslim country which held an exhibition of Gandhara art in a Buddhist country.

The 40 statues of Buddha from the Peshawar Museum were displayed in South Korea for the first time.

The Peshawar Museum has a rich and rare collection of Gandhara art and civilisation. There are around 3,500 artefacts of Gand­hara art alone in the museum, said Dr Samad.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2017

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