Of oil painting at bamyan in afghanistan predating

These majestic Buddhas were constructed around 50 years apart, sometime between 544 and 644 AD.

Both of the Buddhas were hewn right into sandstone cliffs about half a mile apart at a great expense of time and effort of the people of the time, and the features were laboriously created with mud, straw, and coatings of stucco which were all intricately painted in great detail.

The lower parts of the arms were also made of the same straw and stucco material, and the faces were basically immense wooden masks, with eyes made of rubies embedded within the wood that were said to glow in the moonlight.

Much of the statues were said to be coated in gold foil and encrusted with various jewels and gemstones.

Passionate pleas from world leaders and the UN’s cultural organization, UNESCO, were ignored and as the world watched on in horror, Taliban soldiers blasted and pulverized the two Buddhas with high explosives and rocket fire.

Apart from the two known Buddha statues of Bamiyan destroyed by the Taliban, a mysterious third Buddha has long been said to be somewhere out there in the Bamiyan Valley that is even much larger than both of the others combined.

This was when the specter of the Taliban began to emerge from the ashes of the war to loom over the region in its mad dash for power.

In 2001, the Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, proclaimed that the Buddha statues were idols and were thus to be destroyed.

It was a cultural hate crime that was met with nearly universal condemnation, and for many remains a potent symbol of indiscriminate desecration and religious intolerance to this day.

The head of UNESCO at the time said of the brutal act: Despite the outrage sparked by the wanton devastation of the Bamiyan Buddhas, there was not much anyone could do about it until the end of 2001, when the Taliban’s power waned and they lost their grip on the region.

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It was the Kushans who helped to spread the incorporation of Buddhist art into the Bactian culture, and a large number of Buddhist monks called the Bamiyan Valley home, often making their dwellings in the many caves and cliffs of the region.

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