While I was living in Pakistan years ago, my family and I traveled to many historic places in the Northwest. One of these sites is the ancient ruins of Taxila, an UNESCO World Heritage Site and another, Peshawar, is an ancient city on the Afghan Border near the Khyber Pass. Both of these cities were once part of the ancient kingdom of Gandhara which began in the 5th century BCE and now there is new evidence of inhabitants as far back as 30,000 years ago! This kingdom spanned an area from the Eastern land of Kashmir to the Kabul valley in the West. Both were once important Hindu and Buddhist centers of learning and later integrated western ideas as well when Alexander the Great conquered the area. The Gandharan artists, influenced by Mahayana Buddhism and Hellenistic culture, initiated the development of Buddhist art and sculpture. The giant Bamiyan Buddhas were part of this heritage. They also designed gorgeous jewelry! The spiritual, cultural and artistic history of this ancient civilization, as well as the people who now inhabit these lands, has been on my mind ever since.
our hotel on the left - The Khan Club
Recently, while trying to think of a name for my jewelry collection made with the 20th century jewelry dies that I purchased in Islamabad (also in the Gandharan region), I was inspired by my travels to Peshawar and Taxila. Thus, the collection name was born. I was thrilled when Ms. Elena Neva, art historian and expert on Central Asian jewelry, confirmed that these dies did in fact originate northern Pakistan and Afghanistan...which is in the same geographical area as the ancient Gandharan civilization!