Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>150 Gandharan arakshadhikrta
Subjectarakshadhikrta infantry guard
Culture: Gandharan
Setting: Great Kushan empire, northern India/Afghanistan 2nd-3rdc

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Auboyer 1965 p284
"The foot-soldiers were armed with bow and quiver, sword and shield, and sometimes a spear or dagger: apart from their main task of fighting in open terrain and entrenchments, they were also responsible for setting up camp, and provided guards for the royal treasury, the arsenal and the military storehouses."

Armor / Costume

* Robinson 1967 p89
"From the first centuries A.D. we have the remarkable sculptures of Gandhara, in north-west India, where strong Hellenistic or Roman feeling dominated the arts.  The people were largely Scytho-Parthians and Kushans -- the latter, from Central Asia, who invaded the territory in about 90 B.C. and established contacts with Augustan Rome.
    ​"When represented in their sculpture, warriors wear turbans on their heads, long-sleeved tunics and full trousers tucked into ankle-boots, such as the ancient Scythians, Persians, and Parthians are always represented as wearing.  Over the tunic they wear close-fitting cuirasses carved with a trellis pattern which, at first glance, looks like a convention for imbricated pointed scales.  But as true scales are in some instances carved on the shoulder and breast area of the cuirasses, with the trellis pattern below, it obviously represents some other form of defence -- perhaps quilting.  From the shoulders and waist hang pendant straps in Greco-Roman fashion, the skirt in several layers -- as seen on the statues of Roman emperors and the gravestones of legionary officers."  

* Nicolle ill. McBride 1996 p41 (reconstructing a Kushan warrior, 3rd century AD)
"It is interesting to note that a great many pictorial sources from early medieval India and what is now Afghanistan show clean-shaven warriors, whereas most western Sassanian soldiers sport beards or at least moustaches.  The turban was also a distinctly eastern feature at this time.  The man's armour consists of thickly quilted cotton for the body plus hardened leather scales for the arms and thighs."

* Pathak 2006 p26
"Kushan sculptures illustrate two styles of soldiers' costumes -- the indigenous group wearing the 'loincloth, waistband and scarf/turban'; and the foreign group wearing the 'helmet, armour of the Assyrian type or the shirt, dhoti, turban.'"


* Paul 1995 p28
"[I]n Gandhara only Roman sword forms appear, whilst in Mathura the main type is only the Indian leaf bladed sword, with the true Roman type of sword appearing occasionally.  The Romanised type of sword of the north-west is short, with a centre rib, having a hilt with a fairly short platform pommel and a guard that is little more than a band.  In contrast, the swords that appear on the Kushan sculptures of Mathura are predominantly of the indigenous leaf bladed type with a hilt, the platform pommel of which is as broad as the guard ring fitted to the splayed root of the blade.
"The swords excavated at Taxila by the archaeologist John Marshall are dated second century AD, which is the period we are discussing.  These swords are nearly all of the Roman type described above."

* Robinson 1967 p89-90
"The God of War is shown ... from a small piece of sculpture of the first or second century A.D. in the British Museum.  The straight sword, carried by the God at his left side, is similar to the spatha of the Roman auxiliary cavalry."

* Nicolle ill. McBride 1996 p41 (reconstructing a Kushan warrior, 3rd century AD)
"Archaeological and artistic evidence shows that short swords, comparable to those of the Arab Middle East, were common in northern India."


* Nikonorov 1997 v2 p23 (reconstructing Gandharan warriors)
"Many Gandharan works of art of the period under consideration show scenes from the life of Buddha, including his flight from the royal palace ... and his confrontation with the forces of evil Mara, which have provided some of the details on our foot warriors, in particular the shield with a monstrous face.  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."

* Paul 1995 p99
"The Kushan sculptures at Gandhara in the north-west of the sub-continent show round shields with convex surfaces.  It is probable that these shields were of buffalo and rhinoceros hide, which became the most popular material for shields in subsequent centuries as they were strong and light."