Of oil painting at bamyan in afghanistan predating
In its programs, the GCI focuses on the creation and delivery of knowledge that will benefit the professionals and organizations responsible for the conservation of the visual arts.
Since Alexander the Great, invading armies and peaceful migrations have brought in diverse peoples to this Central Asian crossroads.
Taniguchi, an expert at Japan's National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, and a group of Japanese, European, and American scientists are collaborating to restore the damaged murals, the "My European colleagues were shocked because they always believed oil paintings were invented in Europe," Taniguchi said.
"They couldn't believe such techniques could exist in some Buddhist cave deep in the countryside." The Bamiyan Valley is known for two huge 1,500-year-old statues of the Buddha that were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001.
The murals were painted using a structured, multilayered technique reminiscent of early European methods, according to researcher Yoko Taniguchi of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation in Tokyo.
The painters first applied a white base layer of a lead compound.
The researchers are restoring the murals, which depict thousands of Buddhas in red robes, as part of international efforts to salvage what is left of the region's cultural relics.
Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry revealed that some of the murals contained oil- and resin-based paints—likely the earliest known use of either substance for painting.
Afghanistan's Bamian cliffs are probably best known for once holding two enormous Buddha statues, as seen in this February 2001 image.
Just one month after this photo was taken, Taliban officials began to destroy the mighty carvings as part of a hard-line crackdown on anything they considered anti-Islamic and idolatrous.
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A Buddhist mural dated to around the seventh century A. is one of many in Afghanistan's Bamian Valley that were recently found to contain oil- and resin-based paints.