History – Ancient on Buddhist statues that were uncovered in Afghanistan in 2010

The ruins, including the monastery and domed shrines known as “stupas”, will likely be largely destroyed once work at the mine begins. by AP

Ancient Buddhist statues that were uncovered by a Chinese mining company in Afghanistan in Nov 2010. The monastery dates back to the seventh century B.C. along the famous Silk Road which links Asia to the Mid-East. The site is in Mes Aynak, south of Kabul, mes means ‘copper’ in the local Dari language. The monastery has been excavated which has uncovered hallways, rooms adorned with frescoes, clay and stone statues of Buddha which are up to 19 meters high.  Another courtyard area has several stupas 8 to 9 meters high. The statue of the Buddha in a sleeping position dates to the third century.

“In total, 89 relics such as coins, ceramics and a 19 meters statue have been unearthed” – said Mohammad Zia Afshar, an adviser in the information and culture ministry.

Unfortunately the statue was badly damaged. The other relics date back to the Bactrian era and from Islamic and Buddhist civilizations. The discovery was made in the central province of Bamiyan, near the ruins of giant statues that were destroyed by the Taliban seven years ago. Afghanistan’s Taliban government has begun turning to rubble what has stood for centuries, using explosives and rockets to destroy two ancient statues of Buddha. Earlier the Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers ordered the demolition of the statues in the name of Islam, saying it aims to eliminate idolatry from the country. Bamiyan was once a thriving center of Buddhism. Chinese government endorsed China Metallurgical Corporation  is trying to establish the world’s second largest copper mine. The mine was slated to begin construction in late 2011 but with a friendly agreement wtih the Kabul authorities archaeologists have bought 3 years to excavate what they can. Three years still isn’t enough to fully preserve the site as it has been estimated at least 10 years of archaeology would be required. So the archaeologist have to finish the work until short time.

In my opinion, seeing the country’s economic situation and the ability to interest enforce of Chinese government doesn’t seem hasty statement when I say: the cultural heritage of Afghanistan will be “defeated”…

Ilona Kaszanyi


4 thoughts on “History – Ancient on Buddhist statues that were uncovered in Afghanistan in 2010

  1. Lucky for this find because when the Taliban took over Afghanistan they destroyed century old Buddhist and other religious relics.

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