The project DiGA (Digitization of Gandharan Artefacts) proposes to conceptualise the digitization of a corpus of Buddhist sculptures produced in the region of Gandhara (present-day Pakistan/Afghanistan) during the first five centuries of the Common Era and preserved in museums in Pakistan. The project testifies to the willingness to preserve the endangered cultural heritage of the region and aims at meeting desiderata regarding the study of Gandharan art and Gandharan Buddhism. It endeavours to identify and conceptualise digital instruments that correspond to the scientific requirements implied by research questions which cluster around three themes: the identification of workshops producing Buddhist sculptures, the geographical and chronological logics of the School and the history of Buddhism in Gandhara.
DiGA will result in the production of a platform for the repository and analysis of Gandharan Buddhist artefacts in Pakistan collections. Its technical functionalities will enhance the analysis of formal and iconographic features of Buddhist images. This will subsequently refine our perception of the Gandharan School. It will also facilitate the recognition, characterisation and classification of Gandharan styles and the comparison with corpora of Buddhist texts. In this respect it will shed light on the levels of interplay between the textual and visual media in the formation of Buddhist narrative traditions and sharpen the understanding of the history of Buddhism in Gandhara particularly with respect to the emergence of Mahayana Buddhism. Although the platform is conceptualised on the basis of items in Pakistani collections, it is intended to be suitable for images in other collections. Furthermore, by developing strategies of linkage with other databases on Buddhist textual and visual material, DiGA endeavours to promote cross-disciplinary collaboration.
02-2017 – 10-2017