PESHAWAR: The Peshawar Museum has lent a monumental Buddha statue to the Rietberg Museum in Zurich, Switzerland, for exhibition for three and a half months.

The sculpture ‘Buddha Shakyamuni’, which is over three and a half meter high and almost two tons heavy, will be the main highlight at the ‘Next Stop Nirvana - Approaches to Buddhism’ exhibit in Zurich from Dec 12 to March 31, according to an official statement issued here on Wednesday.

Estimated to have been created between the first and third century, the sculpture was excavated in 1909-10 from the Sahri Bahlol village near the World Heritage site of Takht-i-Bhai of Mardan district. It has been on exhibition in Peshawar Museum since its excavation. This is the first time that this 2,000-year-old Buddha sculpture has been sent out of the country.

The Buddha sculpture is a prime example of the fusion between Indian and Greek art.

It represents a unique work not only due to its size but also its quality, because it has survived the time almost without damage.

In 2017, the Embassy of Switzerland and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation initiated contacts between Rietberg Museum and the Pakistan government, which resulted in signing of an MoU between department of archaeology and museums and the Rietberg Museum in Zurich in March 2018.

Under this MoU, Peshawar Museum agreed to lend the Buddha statue to Rietberg Museum.

Published in Dawn, December 13th, 2018