Hadda was the name of a Buddhist and major artistic center located in the south of the city of Jalalabad, in the Nangarhar Province of eastern Afghanistan. This archeological site had the ruins of an ancient town, Buddhist monasteries, stupas and shrines and used to be a popular pilgrimage destination where, according to the accounts of Chinese pilgrims such as Faxian and Xuanzang, various relics of the Buddha’s body and belongings were preserved. Today it is famed for its stucco modelling with Hellenistic influence; a style of art that is associated with the Gandhara school. (Harmatta/Puri/Etemadi 1996, p. 348-349) Numerous Graeco-Buddhist sculptures, coins and pottery were excavated by DAFA and the Afghan Archaeological Mission in the 1930s and 1970s. (Khairzada 2015, p. 114) Most of the excavated objects in Hadda are usually dated to the Kushan period, with some objects extending to the 7th century. (Harmatta/Puri/Etemadi 1996, p. 348-349) Hadda was destroyed and looted during the Afghan civil war in the late 1908s and 1990s. (Khairzada 2015, p. 114) Many objects were sold to private collectors. Today the remaining objects are spilt between the Kabul Museum and the Musée Guimet in Paris. (Tissot 2006, p. 359)


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Francine Tissot, Catalogue of the National Museum of Afghanistan 1931-1985, (UNESCO) Paris 2006.

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