Mandira Chhabra - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Mandira Chhabra

Search for:

Mandira Chhabra

PhD student

Thesis: A Technical Study of Dress in the Kushan Art of Gandhara and Mathura (1st – 3rd century CE) Materials, Techniques, Influence and Exchanges

Primary Supervisor: Dr Sussan Babaie

Co-Supervisor: Dr Giovanni Verri

Secondary external supervisor: Rosemary Crill

Funded by The Robert H. N. Ho. Family Foundation for the study of Buddhist Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London

A profuse representation of dress and textiles can be observed in the Buddhist art of Gandhara and Mathura. Historians have time and again turned to the various components of dress, alongside other iconographic forms, to assist in the identification of religious and secular figures or for their classification into stylistic typologies. Dress has also been used as evidence of the stylistic exchange between the workshops of Gandhara and Mathura, to underscore the inclusivity  in Gandhara or to suggest a Gandharan or Mathura provenance to an object. Despite its significance, there exists no comprehensive study, to date, devoted to the origin, materiality and construction of dress from this period.

The proposed research will undertake a technical study of dress represented in Kushan art from both its sculptural schools—Mathura and Gandhara.   The research will adopt a comprehensive approach that combines art historical enquiry, literary sources, archaeological evidence, and a technical study of materials and reconstruction. The fundamental idea behind this approach is that the study of dress in art cannot be confined to stylistic analysis based on visual examination alone, or for that matter purely technical studies of garment construction, but needs to benefit from the synthesis of both these aspects, so as to maximise approaches and context towards this subject.


2018-present: The Courtauld Institute of Art, PhD Candidate

2016-2017: MA Buddhist Art: History and Conservation, The Courtauld Institute of Art

2011-2012: Post Graduate Diploma in Museology and Conservation, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (Formerly Prince of Wales Museum of Western India) University of Mumbai

2003-2005: MA Global Order Studies, Dept. of International Politics, University of Mumbai


Scholarships and Fellowships

2018-2021: The Robert H.N. Ho Scholarship for the study of Buddhist Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London

2016-2017: The Robert H.N. Ho Scholarship for the study of Buddhist Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London

April 2014-Sept 2014: The Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship at the Sherman Fairschild Centre for Objects Conservation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Share This

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Close