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Ancient carving and embroidery in the 
Valley of Swat.

By: Fazal Rabbi Rahi

 In the valley of Swat, civilizations are begotten. Different religions had flourished here. This historical land has seen the rise and decline of various religions.
 An appreciation of craftsmanship developed here among the people, who according to their customs and traditions, achieved perfection in craftsmanship in the form of sculpture.
The statues, engraved by these engravers, can be seen on the rocks. The sceneries and statues, carved on these rocks give a picture of their religious life.
Apart from the rocks and stones, cloth, leather, doors of the houses, woolen products, Tawnai (a Swati wooden cupboard of exquisite style), Takhtposh (wooden prayer-may) and other articles of daily use have been embroidered and carved so beautifully, that the style is unmatched. All this reflect the somber aspects of the Swati life of those days. In this connection, great work has been done in Swat Kohistan particularly in Bahrain, Kalam, Utror, Gabral and Matiltan, where epitaphs, minarets of mosques, pillars and fireplaces have been carved in an excellent manner. Some exquisite models of Islamic architecture can also be seen here.
But it is tragic to say that exquisite Swati embroidery and carvings are disappearing from Swat. The businessmen in the trade of the antiques have been selling this great Swati heritage to foreign tourists.
On account of this, the beautiful embroidery and carving is sifting to 
foreign countries. It is very much needed that a large number of the carved and embroidered articles should be retained and saved to prevent our gold historical and cultural heritage from total loss. Here, bedstead, woolen blankets, embroidered caps, mats, waistcoats, pitchers and pillows are embroidered in a very fascinating way. These things are now a days made in Swat on a large scale. This also includes some embroidery and carving. The value and price of these articles with a qualitative point of view. The ornaments and dress worn by woman in the far-flung areas of Swat Kohistan recall to mind the grandeur of this ancient world of civilization. The jingle of these traditional ornaments takes one back to the centuries old world of this ancient civilization.
The relics of these ancient civilizations can be seen in the shape of sculptures, or articles of daily use made of iron and copper, weaving of cloth or half pictured inscriptions on the rocks. This ancient art of Swat is known as Ghandhara Art.
Big statues of Buddha are found in various places of Swat, which is a picturesque feature of 

Ghandhara Art. The most important among these statues is the gigantic statue, of Buddha, engraved on a high rock at Jehan Abad (Manglaur, Swat). This statue is so large and clear, which can be seen from quite a long distance. This statue is an exquisite model of Ghandhara Art, which shows the great devotion and regard for Buddha. As a model of Ghandhara Art, this statue can be called as one of the most distinguished and exquisite statue, ever carved on a rock. The beautiful embroidery and carving in valley of Swat in the form of Ghandhara art, is the outcome of the great pains the embroiders and sculptures of the days had undertaken.
It is, therefore, the utmost desire of the government and concerned department, to save the relics of this old civilization by keeping them is Swat Museum and other museums of the country. Among nations of the world, all this will secure distinguished place for our country in the field of culture and art.

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