Join Amazon Prime - Watch Thousands of Movies & TV Shows Anytime - Start Free Trial Now

Plate 7 Gandharan warriors in The Armies of Bactria 700BC-450AD Volume 2 (Illustrations) by Valerii P Nikonorov.
Colour Plates by Rory Little

Plate 7 - Gandharan warriors

(7A-D) Armoured foot soldiers
(7E-F) Female palace guards

    This plate shows foot warriors of the North-Western Indian region in the great Kushan epoch, as depicted in the famous sculptural art of Gandhara.

    Much of the armour and equipment of Gandhara seems to have been inspired by the Yüeh-chih/Kushan newcomers, who in turn had adopted much of it in the Central Asian regions including Bactria. For examples see our Fig. 41c-f. Also especially illustrative are the materials adduced by M V Gorelik in his paper on Kushan armour (Gorelik M. V., 1982, pls 4-12). For further examples see any or all of:

Hallade M. The Gandhara Style-and the evolution of Buddhist Art. London. 1968.
Joshi N P and Sharma R.C. Catalogue of Gandhara Sculptures in the State Museum, Lucknow. Lucknow, 1969.
Marshall Sir John. The Buddhist Art of Gandhara ... Cambridge, 1960.
Nehru L. Origins of the Gandharan Style …Delhi, 1989.

    Many Gandharan works of art of the period under consideration show scenes from the life of Buddha, including his flight from the royal palace (whence the female guards in our picture are derived) and his confrontation with the forces of the evil Mara, which have provided some of the details on our foot warriors, in particular the shield decorated with a monstrous face (7D). The accusation might therefore be levelled that this is really only a 'fantasy' shield but it is highly probable that such devices could still adorn the shields of actual warriors.

Source: The Armies of Bactria 700BC-450AD Volume 2 (Illustrations) by Valerii P Nikonorov

See also Soldiers in 'Scenes from the life of the Buddha', Kushan Gandhara, Pakistan or Afghanistan, late 2nd-early 3rd century AD. Free Gallery of Asian Art, Smithsonian, F1949.9a-d
Kushan Statue of Kanishka, Mathura, India, mid 2nd century AD
A relief panel of Grey Schist showing Kushans with swords, Gandharan, Pakistan, 2nd-3rd centuries AD