139. A Dark Red Chlorite Cosmetic Dish Carved with the Goddess Nana Riding a Lion

Indo-Greek Gandhara, 2nd century BC
Size: 7 cm diameter

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Nana was the Zoroastrian goddess of royalty and power. When one considers the plethora of divinities, those close to them, and the hybrids that came from their mingling in Bactria in the several centuries each side of that millennium, one can’t help wondering if it is not a better candidate for the ‘green and pleasant land’ on which ‘those feet in ancient times’ trod. The most powerful shrine in Srinagar – so powerful, it was bricked up by the British in 1906 to reduce the ‘madness’ it seemed to provoke in the locals – is known as the Tomb of Jesus. In front of the enclosure is the imprint of Jesus’s feet in stone. We don’t have any of those in this country, so who knows? Kashmir would have been a nicer place to retire than Sussex once His job was done, and His disappearance could be covered up by the cruci-fiction.