The results are detailed in the peer-reviewed Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry."This is the earliest clear example of oil paintings in the world, although drying oils were already used by ancient Romans and Egyptians, but only as medicines and cosmetics," said researcher Yoko Taniguchi.It is believed that the upper parts of their faces were made from great wooden masks or casts.
They were intentionally dynamited and destroyed in 2001 by the Taliban, on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were "idols" (which are forbidden under Sharia law).Japan and Switzerland, among others, have pledged support for the rebuilding of the statues., Bamyan was part of the Indian kingdom of Gandhara.Scholars long believed they were first added to paints much later in medieval Europe."There was no clear material evidence of drying oils being used in paintings before the 12th century A. anywhere in the world, until now," says Yoko Taniguchi, a Japanese conservation scientist on the team.Painted in the mid-seventh century, the murals show scenes with Buddhas in vermilion robes sitting cross-legged amid palm leaves and mythical creatures.
The world was in shock when in 2001 the Talibans destroyed two ancient Buddha statues in Afghanistan.
Japan and Switzerland, among others, have pledged support for the rebuilding of the statues.
Bamiyan lies on the Silk Road, which runs through the Hindu Kush mountain region, in the Bamiyan Valley.
Monks at the monasteries lived as hermits in small caves carved into the side of the Bamyan cliffs.
Many of these monks embellished their caves with religious statuary and elaborate, brightly-colored frescoes.
It was the site of several Buddhist and Hindu monasteries, and a thriving center for religion, philosophy, and Indo-Greek art.