TAXILA: A new gallery adjacent to Taxila Museum would soon be opened to public as officials of the Punjab archaeology department and museums have started with decorations.

The new gallery was constructed with an estimated cost of Rs5.5 million in 2000 but since then it has been lying closed because of litigation the contractor went into as the department had forfeited his security money.

Deputy Director Department of archaeology Mohammad Irshad Khan while talking to Dawn said since the building was not constructed as per the specifications the department and the contractor agreed to at the time of signing the contract, the amount was withheld.

This year, a local court gave its decision in favour of the Punjab archaeology department, paving the way for opening of the new gallery to the public, the deputy director said.

He said the employees of the department were putting showcases in place and once they were installed the process of placing antiques would start.

He said the placement of the right antique at right place was a skill and time consuming and sensitive job.

Curator Taxila Museum Mohammad Nasir Khan told Dawn that as many as 18 showcases had been established in new gallery where around 400 antiques would be put on display.

He said that among these showcases stucco and stone antiques would be displayed, while in other show cases Buddha heads, Buddha life stories and metal objects especially of bronze would be put on display.

He said that the selected artifacts were discovered from various Buddhist sites located in Taxila including Julian, Jinna Wali Dehri, Mohra Maradu, Bhir Mound, Sirkap and Badalpur.

He said that some of the original antiques confiscated by Customs authorities while being smuggled out of the country would also be put on display in these galleries as these were the master pieces of world famous Gandhara art.

These antiques would be first major addition to the Taxila Museum since 1928.

The gallery would formally be inaugurated and opened to general public as soon as the process of placement of antiques is completed, the Taxila Museum curator said.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2016

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