Destroyed Bamiyan Buddha artifacts stolen amid Afghan turmoil


Artifacts from one of two Buddha statues destroyed by the Taliban in 2001 at the famous Bamiyan site in central Afghanistan were stolen immediately after the Islamist group returned to power last August, according to reports. people close to the file.

The stolen Buddhist sutra and hessian sack that had been kept in the warehouse of a German archaeological team in Bamiyan are considered prime finds that could shed light on the creation of the information cliffs carved by the Greats 6th century Buddhas at the UNESCO World Heritage Site. .

“Extremely valuable historical material that tells us what kind of thought people had about great Buddhas at the time of their creation has been lost,” Takashi Irisawa, a Buddhist culture expert and president of Ryukoku University Kyoto, said in a statement. western Japan. “It’s devastating.”

File photo taken in June 2022 showing the remains of historical monuments in the Bamiyan Valley in central Afghanistan. (Kyōdo) == Kyōdo

In 2001, when the Taliban were in power, they blew up the two statues because of their belief, based on an extreme interpretation of Islam, that idolatry is forbidden.

The sutra and the hemp bag were discovered by the German team between 2006 and 2008.

The sutra was found in the rubble of the “Eastern Buddha”. It was written in a script used from the 6th to 7th centuries and is said to have been kept inside the statue. The bag was found on the right arm of the statue.

File photo taken in June 2022 showing the Bamiyan Valley in central Afghanistan. (Kyōdo) == Kyōdo

The Taliban took control of the capital Kabul on August 15. The artifacts were stolen from the warehouse the next day after someone broke in, according to people familiar with the matter.

Excavated Buddha heads and other artifacts were looted from the warehouse of a French archaeological team during the time of the Taliban takeover. The warehouse stored valuable artifacts excavated from the vicinity of the “Eastern Buddha”.

File photo taken in June 2022 showing the Bamiyan Museum and Cultural Center under construction in central Afghanistan. (Kyōdo) == Kyōdo

At the Bamiyan site, a cultural center that will serve as a museum is being built on a hill overlooking the location of the two giant statues, with the construction of its main building already completed.

An official from the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture lamented the loss of the precious artifacts, saying they were meant to be the museum’s main tourist attraction.

In 2003, the cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley were simultaneously inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger.


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