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The first photo I have posted here is of a model of a gandua in our collection, probably made for the tourist trade in the years following WWII. Gandua are funerary statues made by the Kalasha of North West Pakistan. The Kalasha are the last devotees of an ancient religion which was once followed in the mountains of Northern Pakistan and Afghanistan. For the Kalasha, gandua can provide a home for the spirit of the deceased and also help to commemorate the life of the deceased. In the twentieth century many gandua disappeared from the Kalasha’s territory, scooped up by collectors or removed by Islamist zelots. Thankfully, recent years have seen a revival in the use of gandua and the other photos show gandua erected outside a village and gandua being ‘dressed’ and carried to their resting point as part of a funeral. We have Kalasha activist Luke Rehmat to thank for these wonderful photographs.

(object number 16.3.63/6. Acquired by the museum in 1963)

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