Seized Buddha idol in Amritsar may have origins in Gandhara school of art: ASI

08:55 PM Nov 11, 2022 | PTI |

Amritsar: The Customs department on Friday said a stone sculpture of Buddha, seized around 20 days ago from a foreign national, may have its origin in the Gandhara School of Art and falls under the category of ‘antiquity’ under the Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972.


The Customs officers posted at Land Customs Station in Attari had seized an antique stone sculpture of Gautam Buddha.

Rahul Nangare, Commissioner, Customs Amritsar, in a statement here said the idol was seized from the bag of a foreign traveller who had arrived in India via the integrated check post in Attari.

The sculpture was seized when the officers suspected it to be an antique piece.

Despite the seizure, the foreigner was let go and was allowed to continue his journey to the next nation, said the statement.


The matter was referred to the Chandigarh circle office of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

“The ASI has now given a report confirming that the sculpture fragment appears to be Buddha of the Gandhara School of Art and tentatively datable to 2nd or 3rd CE and falls under the category of antiquity under the Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972,” said the statement. The ASI also said that the main features of idols from the period were: flute hair, face of Buddha shown as crown prince, and they were made with black soft stone which comes from Syat ghati, Greco-Roman influence.

The ASI report shedding light on the provenance of the sculpture came on Friday.

The customs department said the sculpture is likely to be handed over to some museum or ASI for conservation.

In previous such instances, 262 antiquity coins were seized from a passenger at Land Customs Station, Attari Rail in May, 2017 and another 65 antiquity coins were seized from another passenger at the same place in September, 2018.

The ASI had identified those coins to have been minted in various historical eras with some belonging to the period of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Akbar, Jahangir, Humayun, and British era with bust of Empress Victoria on their face.

Some of other coins from the haul were identified as Indo-Greek coins of Azelizus and square coin of Apollodotus. Some coins are now displayed in the Dharohar: National Museum of Customs & GST in Goa.


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