India-Egypt Ancient Ties: Buddha Statue’s Discovery Points To Deep Civilisational Links

The discovery of a Buddha Statue by a Polish-US mission points to ancient civilizational links between India and Egypt.

India’s Buddhist traditions left their trail of ascetic uniqueness in ancient Egypt. A statue of Buddha, the reverent ascetic who founded Buddhism, has been discovered in Egypt’s seaport of Berenice on the Red Sea, about 900 km south of Cairo and nearly 3800 km west of ancient India’s port city of Khambat in the present-day Gujarat state. 

The Buddha statue, discovered by a Polish-US mission, sheds light on trade ties between larger West Asian region including ancient Egypt with ancient India.

The statue dates back to “the Roman era while digging at the ancient temple in Berenice,” an antiquities ministry statement said on Wednesday.

The find has “important indications over the presence of trade ties between Egypt and India during the Roman era”, the head of Egypt’s supreme antiquities council Mostafa al-Waziri said.

The statue, with part of its right side and its right leg missing, measures 71 centimetres (28 inches) in height and portrays Buddha with a halo around his head and a lotus flower by his side.

Waziri said Berenice was one of the largest seaports in Roman-era Egypt, and was often the destination for ships from India laden with spices, semi-precious stones, textiles and ivory.

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