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Rare life-size stucco sculpture unearthed in India's Suryapet district


Archaeologists in the Indian state of Telangana have unearthed a rare treasure in the form of a life-sized stucco sculpture from a Buddhist site at Phanigiri in Suryapet. It is the biggest stucco sculpture found in the country so far.

Rare life-size stucco sculpture unearthed in India's Suryapet district
Credit: Telangana Today
According to officials of department of heritage, the life-size figurine found in the excavations is thought to represent one of Bhodhisattva in Jathaka Chakra.


The stucco has been brought to Hyderabad for mending and conservation, and is currently being watched over at the department of heritage in Gunfoundry.

“The stucco is about 1.73 metres in height and 35 cm in width,” said Sunita Bhagwat, in-charge director, department of heritage. “This unique sculpture found in the excavations is the biggest and the most important, and a rare finding not just in Telangana but also in the country.”

Rare life-size stucco sculpture unearthed in India's Suryapet district
Credit: V. Srinivas Goud
“The stucco was found facing the ground on the north-eastern side of the Buddhist site at Phanigiri. We are currently taking measures to mend the sculpture and conserve it for future generations,” said Bhagwat.


Apart from the life-sized stucco, these excavations brought to light a Mahastupa, apsidal chaitya grihas, votive stupas, pillared congregation halls, viharas, platforms with staircases at various levels, sculptural panels with Brahmi inscriptions, belonging to Satavahana period from first century BC, continued with Mahayana till the end of Ikshuvaka period and others in third-fourth century AD.

The preliminary excavation at Phanigiri was started in 1941 by Khaja Muhammad Ahmad of archaeology department of the then erstwhile Hyderabad state, and it continued till 1944.


After that, he state Archaeology and Museums Department (department of heritage) conducted excavations again after six decades, between 2001 and 2010, and once in 2013-14.

This year, the excavations in the site are being conducted in collaboration with Deccan College of Archaeology, Pune, under the guidance of assistant professor Srikanth Ganveer as co-excavation director and Pagadam Nagaraju as excavation director. The excavations, which began on February 2, are scheduled to be conducted till May 15.

Source: The Times of India [April 30, 2019]

TANN

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