Titolo della tesi: Gender in Gandhāran art (1st – 4th centuries CE)
Buddhism was introduced from Central India to Greater Gandhāra (parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan) in the third century BCE and became strongly embedded in the socio-political fabric of the Kuṣāṇa kingdom during the first centuries CE. Gandhāran Buddhist art developed in this cultural and geographic crossroads using motifs (Greek, Roman, Indian, and Central Asian) that were transregionally shared and locally adapted.
This thesis investigates Gandhāran material culture to understand how gender was conceptualised. It uses the nexus between art, archaeology, and ancient texts to show that gender interactions were a prominent feature of Gandhāran Buddhist narratives. It elaborates on gendered use of space, the identity markers of male and female donors, and the contexts in which gender interactions occur in art.
Traditionally, Gandhāran art was seen as an extension of ancient literature, and motifs were only studied to highlight their relationship to Greek and Roman art. In the light of new excavations and developments in chronology, this project advances a holistic approach to appraise male and female figures in Gandhāran art. It seeks to pay attention to the image as an image, providing serious consideration to its visual and contextual elements. Only then, I argue, it is possible to reach an understanding of the visual that is not simply in the service of illustrating religious texts but is worthy of intellectual inquiry in its own right.