The Government of Japan is offering new grant assistance worth 48.8 million Japanese Yen (equivalent to around 0.37 million USD or around PKKR 101.6 million) to enhance the antiquities conservation and exhibition capacity of Taxila Museum.
On February 10, 2023, a signing ceremony for the assistance was held at the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Islamabad. Ambassador of Japan Wada Mitsuhiro, Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Kinoshita Yasumitsu, and Secretary of Pakistan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs Dr Kazim Niaz, and other officials from both countries attended this ceremony.
At the signing ceremony, the Japanese Ambassador Mitsuhiro stated “The Government of Japan recognizes the importance of cultural heritage and attaches great value to its preservation and supports Pakistan in this area as well. The ancient Gandhara civilization is very close to the heart of Japanese people and this project would lead to attracting more tourists to Pakistan in the future.”
Kinoshita while speaking at the event said “Taxila Museum has its own cultural identity and monumental historical significance.”
He added: “We hope that the upgraded Taxila museum will contribute to keeping the cultural heritage of Pakistan intact and making those accessible to researchers, scholars and students who would like to reconnect with the past and appreciate its monumental significance”.
Taxila Museum is located in the middle of ancient Gandharan Buddhist ruins in Taxila, a UNESCO World Heritage site with Gandharan arts of great historical and cultural value. The museum preserves and exhibits the precious artifacts excavated in this area. As of now, only approximately 30% of the ruins at this site have been excavated, and the excavation is still in progress. However, there are insufficient facilities and equipment to display the increasing number of excavated works in the museum, as well as to prevent these artifacts from deteriorating.
This project aims to promote understanding of the history and cultural heritage of Gandharan Buddhism among domestic and overseas visitors and will do so by providing the Taxila Museum with the necessary equipment for improving its capacity for the conservation and exhibition of historical artifacts excavated from the Gandharan ruins. This project also aims to enrich cultural education for youths, and to facilitate cultural conservation, thereby contributing to SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) Goal 11 (Sustainable cities and communities).