Gandharan art developed in the Himalayan area in the early centuries CE. It has been investigated mostly from an iconographic point of view, missing, until very recently, a systematic technical investigation of materials and techniques. Recently our team began performing chemical analyses of the traces of the polychromy originally covering statues, reliefs and architectural decorations, to discover the ancient painting techniques and artistic technologies. This paper presents the results of the analytical investigation (optical microscopy, Raman spectroscopy and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry) of pigments, ground layers and binders of a new group of samples taken from stucco architectural decorations (2nd–3rd/4th centuries CE). The samples were collected directly at an archaeological site in the Swat Valley, ensuring the exact knowledge of their stratigraphic provenance, as well as the absence of any restoration treatment applied prior sampling. The results are discussed in the wider context of Gandharan polychromy investigated so far by our team, as found in sculptures and architectural decorations preserved in museums (in Italy and France) and in archaeological excavations in Pakistan. The aim of this research is to shed light on the materials and techniques of this Buddhist ancient art from this region and on the influences exerted on it from Eastern and Western artistic traditions.

An insight into Gandharan Art: Materials and Techniques of Polychrome Decoration

Luca Maria Olivieri
Investigation
;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Gandharan art developed in the Himalayan area in the early centuries CE. It has been investigated mostly from an iconographic point of view, missing, until very recently, a systematic technical investigation of materials and techniques. Recently our team began performing chemical analyses of the traces of the polychromy originally covering statues, reliefs and architectural decorations, to discover the ancient painting techniques and artistic technologies. This paper presents the results of the analytical investigation (optical microscopy, Raman spectroscopy and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry) of pigments, ground layers and binders of a new group of samples taken from stucco architectural decorations (2nd–3rd/4th centuries CE). The samples were collected directly at an archaeological site in the Swat Valley, ensuring the exact knowledge of their stratigraphic provenance, as well as the absence of any restoration treatment applied prior sampling. The results are discussed in the wider context of Gandharan polychromy investigated so far by our team, as found in sculptures and architectural decorations preserved in museums (in Italy and France) and in archaeological excavations in Pakistan. The aim of this research is to shed light on the materials and techniques of this Buddhist ancient art from this region and on the influences exerted on it from Eastern and Western artistic traditions.
2022
2022
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3752882
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