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Gandhara artefacts impress US envoy

March 14, 2013

PESHAWAR, March 13: US Ambassador Richard Olson on Wednesday visited Peshawar Museum and said he was much impressed by ancient Gandhara artefacts and Buddha sculptures displayed there.

The US ambassador visited various galleries and evinced interest in Buddhist art and Gandhara masterpieces, including Buddhist stone sculptures.

He later told reporters that he was impressed by quality collection of Gandhara and Buddhist art pieces put on display at the museum.

He said it was his first visit to the museum and impressed immensely with ancient Gandhara and Buddhist artwork displayed here.

Mr Olson was accompanied by US Consul General in Peshawar Robert Reed, Public Affairs Officer Tommy Paltchikov and other officials.

Earlier on arrival, the US diplomat was received by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tourism, Sports and Archeology Secretary Jamaluddin Shah and Peshawar Museum Director Shah Nazar Khan and senior government officials.

On the occasion, the officials at the museum told the US diplomat about historic perspective and background of Gandhara Civilisation, Gandhara Greco-Buddhist art, Buddhist stone sculptures, stucco sculptures and other artworks.

They said Peshawar Museum had the largest collection of Gandhara Greco-Buddhist art in the world and over 4,240 Gandhara pieces, including Buddhist stone sculptures and panels, stucco sculptures, terracotta figurines, relic caskets and toiletry objects were available.

The officials said the main hall of the museum was built in 1906-07 in the memory of Queen Victoria at the cost of Rs60,000 and that of the money, Rs45,000 was donated by the people and the rest by the Indian director general of archaeology.

They said the museum was originally called Victoria Memorial Hall and the first Muslim head of the museum was Khan Dilawar Khan Yousafzai.

They also said the museum had over 14,100 items, which including Gandhara sculptures, coins, manuscripts, weapons, dresses, jewellery, Kalash effigies, paintings of Mughal and later eras, and household objects and local and Persian handicrafts. — APP