Colouring Technology Of Ancient Gandhāra; As Revealed By FTIR And XRD Analyses Of Painted Stuccos From Ogi, Mansehra – Pakistan

Main Article Content

Mueezuddin Hakal , Afeera Riaz , Sidra Riaz


The art of Buddhist sculptures were added with the paintings of different colours in Kushana age Hellenistic culture, between the first to fourth/fifth centuries CE. These stylistic expressions in stone and stucco were common among the Gandhāran artists, as similar intact evidences in stucco from Mes Aynak have marked in Afghanistan. In this connection, we were fortunate for having two stucco pieces of this period, found from a site around Ogi in Mansehra. These broken stucco shards were collected by some locals and forwarded to us with hand to hand information of their location. These broken two pieces are undoubtedly from a stucco sculpture, interestingly intact their red-orange colour over the white. Therefore, we aimed to understand the applied technology of colours’ manufacturing in antiquity. Thus, in order to know this aspect of ancient technology, we mainly applied the analytical technique of Fourier Transform Infra-Red Spectroscopy (FTIR) with additional support from X-ray Diffraction (XRD) to confirm the results. Using this multi-technique investigation to characterise pigments and paint binders of the base stucco layer, painted layer and covered dust layer allowed us to identify the composition of the materials employed in the paint production, as indicated by the samples. Besides FTIR, the X-ray Diffraction technique added that the iron is the principal element (the ratio Fe/Mn is higher) in the red-pigmented surface. Therefore, this study concludes that the red ochre was used to manufacture the red-orange paint, as the main ingredient, beside other miscellaneous additions with the oil. Thus, this study reveals that the oil-based paint was utilised at Ogi to colour the stucco sculptures.   

Article Details