Mardan-Based Sculptor Bids Farewell To Art On Religious Grounds

Mardan-Based Sculptor Bids Farewell To Art On Religious Grounds
A sculptor in Mardan whose artwork is popular in the city stopped making human sculptures when he was told by a cleric that making human statues was a sin as per Islamic teachings.

While 60-year-old Haji Amir Khan restricted his artwork and stopped making full statues, he still makes hands and feet to keep the ball rolling.

Khan belongs to the historic town of Takht Bhai in Mardan district. He says people asked him to make full sculptures but he could not go back to making them as Islam prohibits it. “Three years ago, I promised to myself that I won’t make sinful sculptures anymore,” he says.

Since his childhood, Haji Amir Khan was skilled in making statues out of wire and clay and made a number of sculptures and landscapes. Sometimes he had to spend several months on a single sculpture but he did not give up before achieving a perfect piece.

He has so far transferred hundreds of scenes and historic photos to micro art and stone art and when he starts working, his artistic fingers and love for art amaze everyone. From Takht Bhai Buddha remnants to visuals of Pashtun uprising against imperials to designs of historic mosques or the background of the door of the house of Umara Khan, known to be a famous freedom fighter against the British rulers — Khan does it all, flawlessly.

Amir Khan’s most cherished work is the mini-stone art of arats (an ancient aggregation system in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa).
Haji Amir Khan says that he wants to keep this rare specimen depicting the whole world alive through his art so that future generations will be aware of stone script and stone art.

This art is difficult but he is determined to continue. Those who come to see his artwork however wish to see him make human sculptures again.

The author is a Peshawar-based journalist and currently working as a reporter and editor with The Frontier Post. He can be reached at