Monday, July 9, 2012

Gandharan Antiquities Sting!

To further spread the word about the recent major antiquities sting in Karachi, please see this article. It appears that all come from the Northwest Frontier Province/Peshawar valley regions, and comprises mostly broken statuary and assorted figures of the Buddha. Most of the items derive from the Gandharan civilization and its regional centre of Texila, making them collectively over 2,000 years old. The photo at left shows just some of the seized material.

The artifacts were being transported in a large storage container that authorities confiscated from a truck driver hauling between Islamabad and Karachi. This is reminiscent of a previous (2005) smuggling attempt stopped in Karachi, in which 7,000 yr old artifacts were found in a crate apparently labeled as furniture. Fortunately, the authorities had the good sense to actually search the crates, just to be sure! What will happen to the artifacts now is unknown, especially as smuggling attempts of this scale suggest that security is lax. At the very least, they are off the market (e.g. this gallery?) and can perhaps be at least partially restored or repatriated. Professor Gill also reports on this incident here.

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