Archive for the ‘Radioactive’ Category

Protei hackathon in Hong Kong

Protei hackathon in Hong Kong
Radioactive materials

Image by cesarharada.com
www.facebook.com/events/615138761892851/

1. Learn the basic of naval architecture
學習造船學的基本知識

2. Design and build your own sailing robot!
設計和製造屬於你自己的機械船

3. Sail it in the Kwun Tong Ferry pier waters !
在觀塘渡輪碼頭起航!

Come to learn, design and sail your own robot!
We will teach you the basics of maritime architecture, we help you design your own remote control boat, build and sail it in the water, all in one day!
我們會教你們造船學的基本知識,協助你們在一天內,設計,製造和起航屬於你們的機械船,請踴躍參加!

You need to get the ticket here so we could prepare all materials easily:

www.eventbrite.hk/e/build-and-sail-your-boat-in-one-day-p…

請在以上的網址索取門票表示參加,以便我們統計人數及預備材料。

The ocean cover more than 70% of our planets, they are where all life comes from and are the future of our food, energy, transport, communication and security. But the oceans are dying : Overfishing, acidification, plastic pollution, radioactive leaks, oil spills… We need better, more reliable and affordable sailing robots. We will also introduce you to Protei the Open Hardware Shape Shifting sailing robot and more.

海洋,有70% 的植物,是所有生物不可缺少的資源。它為我們提供食物,能源,交通,通訊和安全。但隨著我們地發展,各種的污染,包括:過度捕魚,酸化,塑膠污染,放射性物體洩漏和石油洩漏等,為海洋帶來了極大的污染……
我們需要更加有效,可靠和實惠的船隻去淨化海洋,所以我們會向你們介紹 Protei 的設計和創作理念 。

This workshop is open to beginners as well as experts of all ages.
歡迎任何人士參加

Instructors & Partners
Cesar HARADA : ex-MIT researcher , TED Senior fellow, Ocean roboticist, Guillaume DUPONT : Future Naval Architect, Mechanical Engineering, Agnes Kwanyuk KY CHAN : Product Design, Ricky LongMing SZETO : Product Design

Protei hackathon in Hong Kong
Radioactive materials

Image by cesarharada.com
www.facebook.com/events/615138761892851/

1. Learn the basic of naval architecture
學習造船學的基本知識

2. Design and build your own sailing robot!
設計和製造屬於你自己的機械船

3. Sail it in the Kwun Tong Ferry pier waters !
在觀塘渡輪碼頭起航!

Come to learn, design and sail your own robot!
We will teach you the basics of maritime architecture, we help you design your own remote control boat, build and sail it in the water, all in one day!
我們會教你們造船學的基本知識,協助你們在一天內,設計,製造和起航屬於你們的機械船,請踴躍參加!

You need to get the ticket here so we could prepare all materials easily:

www.eventbrite.hk/e/build-and-sail-your-boat-in-one-day-p…

請在以上的網址索取門票表示參加,以便我們統計人數及預備材料。

The ocean cover more than 70% of our planets, they are where all life comes from and are the future of our food, energy, transport, communication and security. But the oceans are dying : Overfishing, acidification, plastic pollution, radioactive leaks, oil spills… We need better, more reliable and affordable sailing robots. We will also introduce you to Protei the Open Hardware Shape Shifting sailing robot and more.

海洋,有70% 的植物,是所有生物不可缺少的資源。它為我們提供食物,能源,交通,通訊和安全。但隨著我們地發展,各種的污染,包括:過度捕魚,酸化,塑膠污染,放射性物體洩漏和石油洩漏等,為海洋帶來了極大的污染……
我們需要更加有效,可靠和實惠的船隻去淨化海洋,所以我們會向你們介紹 Protei 的設計和創作理念 。

This workshop is open to beginners as well as experts of all ages.
歡迎任何人士參加

Instructors & Partners
Cesar HARADA : ex-MIT researcher , TED Senior fellow, Ocean roboticist, Guillaume DUPONT : Future Naval Architect, Mechanical Engineering, Agnes Kwanyuk KY CHAN : Product Design, Ricky LongMing SZETO : Product Design

Protei hackathon in Hong Kong
Radioactive materials

Image by cesarharada.com
www.facebook.com/events/615138761892851/

1. Learn the basic of naval architecture
學習造船學的基本知識

2. Design and build your own sailing robot!
設計和製造屬於你自己的機械船

3. Sail it in the Kwun Tong Ferry pier waters !
在觀塘渡輪碼頭起航!

Come to learn, design and sail your own robot!
We will teach you the basics of maritime architecture, we help you design your own remote control boat, build and sail it in the water, all in one day!
我們會教你們造船學的基本知識,協助你們在一天內,設計,製造和起航屬於你們的機械船,請踴躍參加!

You need to get the ticket here so we could prepare all materials easily:

www.eventbrite.hk/e/build-and-sail-your-boat-in-one-day-p…

請在以上的網址索取門票表示參加,以便我們統計人數及預備材料。

The ocean cover more than 70% of our planets, they are where all life comes from and are the future of our food, energy, transport, communication and security. But the oceans are dying : Overfishing, acidification, plastic pollution, radioactive leaks, oil spills… We need better, more reliable and affordable sailing robots. We will also introduce you to Protei the Open Hardware Shape Shifting sailing robot and more.

海洋,有70% 的植物,是所有生物不可缺少的資源。它為我們提供食物,能源,交通,通訊和安全。但隨著我們地發展,各種的污染,包括:過度捕魚,酸化,塑膠污染,放射性物體洩漏和石油洩漏等,為海洋帶來了極大的污染……
我們需要更加有效,可靠和實惠的船隻去淨化海洋,所以我們會向你們介紹 Protei 的設計和創作理念 。

This workshop is open to beginners as well as experts of all ages.
歡迎任何人士參加

Instructors & Partners
Cesar HARADA : ex-MIT researcher , TED Senior fellow, Ocean roboticist, Guillaume DUPONT : Future Naval Architect, Mechanical Engineering, Agnes Kwanyuk KY CHAN : Product Design, Ricky LongMing SZETO : Product Design

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Protei hackathon in Hong Kong

Protei hackathon in Hong Kong
Radioactive materials

Image by cesarharada.com
www.facebook.com/events/615138761892851/

1. Learn the basic of naval architecture
學習造船學的基本知識

2. Design and build your own sailing robot!
設計和製造屬於你自己的機械船

3. Sail it in the Kwun Tong Ferry pier waters !
在觀塘渡輪碼頭起航!

Come to learn, design and sail your own robot!
We will teach you the basics of maritime architecture, we help you design your own remote control boat, build and sail it in the water, all in one day!
我們會教你們造船學的基本知識,協助你們在一天內,設計,製造和起航屬於你們的機械船,請踴躍參加!

You need to get the ticket here so we could prepare all materials easily:

www.eventbrite.hk/e/build-and-sail-your-boat-in-one-day-p…

請在以上的網址索取門票表示參加,以便我們統計人數及預備材料。

The ocean cover more than 70% of our planets, they are where all life comes from and are the future of our food, energy, transport, communication and security. But the oceans are dying : Overfishing, acidification, plastic pollution, radioactive leaks, oil spills… We need better, more reliable and affordable sailing robots. We will also introduce you to Protei the Open Hardware Shape Shifting sailing robot and more.

海洋,有70% 的植物,是所有生物不可缺少的資源。它為我們提供食物,能源,交通,通訊和安全。但隨著我們地發展,各種的污染,包括:過度捕魚,酸化,塑膠污染,放射性物體洩漏和石油洩漏等,為海洋帶來了極大的污染……
我們需要更加有效,可靠和實惠的船隻去淨化海洋,所以我們會向你們介紹 Protei 的設計和創作理念 。

This workshop is open to beginners as well as experts of all ages.
歡迎任何人士參加

Instructors & Partners
Cesar HARADA : ex-MIT researcher , TED Senior fellow, Ocean roboticist, Guillaume DUPONT : Future Naval Architect, Mechanical Engineering, Agnes Kwanyuk KY CHAN : Product Design, Ricky LongMing SZETO : Product Design

Protei hackathon in Hong Kong
Radioactive materials

Image by cesarharada.com
www.facebook.com/events/615138761892851/

1. Learn the basic of naval architecture
學習造船學的基本知識

2. Design and build your own sailing robot!
設計和製造屬於你自己的機械船

3. Sail it in the Kwun Tong Ferry pier waters !
在觀塘渡輪碼頭起航!

Come to learn, design and sail your own robot!
We will teach you the basics of maritime architecture, we help you design your own remote control boat, build and sail it in the water, all in one day!
我們會教你們造船學的基本知識,協助你們在一天內,設計,製造和起航屬於你們的機械船,請踴躍參加!

You need to get the ticket here so we could prepare all materials easily:

www.eventbrite.hk/e/build-and-sail-your-boat-in-one-day-p…

請在以上的網址索取門票表示參加,以便我們統計人數及預備材料。

The ocean cover more than 70% of our planets, they are where all life comes from and are the future of our food, energy, transport, communication and security. But the oceans are dying : Overfishing, acidification, plastic pollution, radioactive leaks, oil spills… We need better, more reliable and affordable sailing robots. We will also introduce you to Protei the Open Hardware Shape Shifting sailing robot and more.

海洋,有70% 的植物,是所有生物不可缺少的資源。它為我們提供食物,能源,交通,通訊和安全。但隨著我們地發展,各種的污染,包括:過度捕魚,酸化,塑膠污染,放射性物體洩漏和石油洩漏等,為海洋帶來了極大的污染……
我們需要更加有效,可靠和實惠的船隻去淨化海洋,所以我們會向你們介紹 Protei 的設計和創作理念 。

This workshop is open to beginners as well as experts of all ages.
歡迎任何人士參加

Instructors & Partners
Cesar HARADA : ex-MIT researcher , TED Senior fellow, Ocean roboticist, Guillaume DUPONT : Future Naval Architect, Mechanical Engineering, Agnes Kwanyuk KY CHAN : Product Design, Ricky LongMing SZETO : Product Design

Protei hackathon in Hong Kong
Radioactive materials

Image by cesarharada.com
www.facebook.com/events/615138761892851/

1. Learn the basic of naval architecture
學習造船學的基本知識

2. Design and build your own sailing robot!
設計和製造屬於你自己的機械船

3. Sail it in the Kwun Tong Ferry pier waters !
在觀塘渡輪碼頭起航!

Come to learn, design and sail your own robot!
We will teach you the basics of maritime architecture, we help you design your own remote control boat, build and sail it in the water, all in one day!
我們會教你們造船學的基本知識,協助你們在一天內,設計,製造和起航屬於你們的機械船,請踴躍參加!

You need to get the ticket here so we could prepare all materials easily:

www.eventbrite.hk/e/build-and-sail-your-boat-in-one-day-p…

請在以上的網址索取門票表示參加,以便我們統計人數及預備材料。

The ocean cover more than 70% of our planets, they are where all life comes from and are the future of our food, energy, transport, communication and security. But the oceans are dying : Overfishing, acidification, plastic pollution, radioactive leaks, oil spills… We need better, more reliable and affordable sailing robots. We will also introduce you to Protei the Open Hardware Shape Shifting sailing robot and more.

海洋,有70% 的植物,是所有生物不可缺少的資源。它為我們提供食物,能源,交通,通訊和安全。但隨著我們地發展,各種的污染,包括:過度捕魚,酸化,塑膠污染,放射性物體洩漏和石油洩漏等,為海洋帶來了極大的污染……
我們需要更加有效,可靠和實惠的船隻去淨化海洋,所以我們會向你們介紹 Protei 的設計和創作理念 。

This workshop is open to beginners as well as experts of all ages.
歡迎任何人士參加

Instructors & Partners
Cesar HARADA : ex-MIT researcher , TED Senior fellow, Ocean roboticist, Guillaume DUPONT : Future Naval Architect, Mechanical Engineering, Agnes Kwanyuk KY CHAN : Product Design, Ricky LongMing SZETO : Product Design

No Comments »

Protei hackathon in Hong Kong

Protei hackathon in Hong Kong
Radioactive materials

Image by cesarharada.com
www.facebook.com/events/615138761892851/

1. Learn the basic of naval architecture
學習造船學的基本知識

2. Design and build your own sailing robot!
設計和製造屬於你自己的機械船

3. Sail it in the Kwun Tong Ferry pier waters !
在觀塘渡輪碼頭起航!

Come to learn, design and sail your own robot!
We will teach you the basics of maritime architecture, we help you design your own remote control boat, build and sail it in the water, all in one day!
我們會教你們造船學的基本知識,協助你們在一天內,設計,製造和起航屬於你們的機械船,請踴躍參加!

You need to get the ticket here so we could prepare all materials easily:

www.eventbrite.hk/e/build-and-sail-your-boat-in-one-day-p…

請在以上的網址索取門票表示參加,以便我們統計人數及預備材料。

The ocean cover more than 70% of our planets, they are where all life comes from and are the future of our food, energy, transport, communication and security. But the oceans are dying : Overfishing, acidification, plastic pollution, radioactive leaks, oil spills… We need better, more reliable and affordable sailing robots. We will also introduce you to Protei the Open Hardware Shape Shifting sailing robot and more.

海洋,有70% 的植物,是所有生物不可缺少的資源。它為我們提供食物,能源,交通,通訊和安全。但隨著我們地發展,各種的污染,包括:過度捕魚,酸化,塑膠污染,放射性物體洩漏和石油洩漏等,為海洋帶來了極大的污染……
我們需要更加有效,可靠和實惠的船隻去淨化海洋,所以我們會向你們介紹 Protei 的設計和創作理念 。

This workshop is open to beginners as well as experts of all ages.
歡迎任何人士參加

Instructors & Partners
Cesar HARADA : ex-MIT researcher , TED Senior fellow, Ocean roboticist, Guillaume DUPONT : Future Naval Architect, Mechanical Engineering, Agnes Kwanyuk KY CHAN : Product Design, Ricky LongMing SZETO : Product Design

Protei hackathon in Hong Kong
Radioactive materials

Image by cesarharada.com
www.facebook.com/events/615138761892851/

1. Learn the basic of naval architecture
學習造船學的基本知識

2. Design and build your own sailing robot!
設計和製造屬於你自己的機械船

3. Sail it in the Kwun Tong Ferry pier waters !
在觀塘渡輪碼頭起航!

Come to learn, design and sail your own robot!
We will teach you the basics of maritime architecture, we help you design your own remote control boat, build and sail it in the water, all in one day!
我們會教你們造船學的基本知識,協助你們在一天內,設計,製造和起航屬於你們的機械船,請踴躍參加!

You need to get the ticket here so we could prepare all materials easily:

www.eventbrite.hk/e/build-and-sail-your-boat-in-one-day-p…

請在以上的網址索取門票表示參加,以便我們統計人數及預備材料。

The ocean cover more than 70% of our planets, they are where all life comes from and are the future of our food, energy, transport, communication and security. But the oceans are dying : Overfishing, acidification, plastic pollution, radioactive leaks, oil spills… We need better, more reliable and affordable sailing robots. We will also introduce you to Protei the Open Hardware Shape Shifting sailing robot and more.

海洋,有70% 的植物,是所有生物不可缺少的資源。它為我們提供食物,能源,交通,通訊和安全。但隨著我們地發展,各種的污染,包括:過度捕魚,酸化,塑膠污染,放射性物體洩漏和石油洩漏等,為海洋帶來了極大的污染……
我們需要更加有效,可靠和實惠的船隻去淨化海洋,所以我們會向你們介紹 Protei 的設計和創作理念 。

This workshop is open to beginners as well as experts of all ages.
歡迎任何人士參加

Instructors & Partners
Cesar HARADA : ex-MIT researcher , TED Senior fellow, Ocean roboticist, Guillaume DUPONT : Future Naval Architect, Mechanical Engineering, Agnes Kwanyuk KY CHAN : Product Design, Ricky LongMing SZETO : Product Design

lead container
Radioactive materials

Image by Muffet
Before a PET scan, a radioactive tracer is injected into the patient’s body and allowed to sit there for a while. (Anyone interested can learn about scans here). The material was brought into the room inside a heavy metal syringe which inside this metal box, which I’m assuming is lead or some other dense material. As soon as the dose is administered, everyone flees, because the patient does emit a tiny amount of radiation. Individually, such a dose isn’t harmful, but to workers exposed to dozens of patients each week, the effect would be cumulative. For some reason, I never noticed this little box in earlier scans.

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Top of the niche, destroyed Buddha, Bamiyan, Afghanistan

Top of the niche, destroyed Buddha, Bamiyan, Afghanistan
Radioactive materials

Image by james_gordon_losangeles
The Buddhas of Bamiyan were two 6th century monumental statues of standing buddha carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan Valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, 230 km (140 mi) northwest of Kabul at an altitude of 2,500 meters (8,202 ft). Built in 507 CE, the larger in 554 CE, the statues represented the classic blended style of Gandhara art.

The main bodies were hewn directly from the sandstone cliffs, but details were modeled in mud mixed with straw, coated with stucco. This coating, practically all of which wore away long ago, was painted to enhance the expressions of the faces, hands and folds of the robes; the larger one was painted carmine red and the smaller one was painted multiple colors.

The lower parts of the statues’ arms were constructed from the same mud-straw mix while supported on wooden armatures. It is believed that the upper parts of their faces were made from great wooden masks or casts. Rows of holes that can be seen in photographs were spaces that held wooden pegs that stabilized the outer stucco.

The two Buddhas were dynamited and destroyed March 2001 by Taliban members on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were idols and therefore anti-islamic. International opinion strongly condemned the destruction of the Buddhas, which was viewed as an example of the intolerance of the Taliban. Japan and Switzerland, among others, have pledged support for the rebuilding of the statues.

Photojournalist David Adams filmed the Buddhas prior to their destruction for an episode of Journeys to the Ends of the Earth, a travel series for the Discovery Channel.

History
Bamiyan lies on the Silk Road, which runs through the Hindu Kush mountain region, in the Bamiyan Valley. The Silk Road has been historically a caravan route linking the markets of China with those of the Western world. It was the site of several Buddhist monasteries, and a thriving center for religion, philosophy, and art. Monks at the monasteries lived as hermits in small caves carved into the side of the Bamiyan cliffs. Most of these monks embellished their caves with religious statuary and elaborate, brightly colored frescoes and oil-based paintings. It was a Buddhist religious site from the 2nd century up to the time of the Islamic invasion in the later half of the 7th century. Until it was completely conquered by the Muslim Saffarids in the 9th century, Bamiyan shared the culture of Gandhara.

The two most prominent statues were the giant standing Buddhas Vairocana and Sakyamuni, identified by the different mudras performed. The Buddha popularly called "Solsol" measures 53 meters tall, and "Shahmama" 35 meters – the niches in which the figures stand are 58 and 38 meters from botom to top. Before being blown up in 2001 they were the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world (the 8th century Leshan Giant Buddha is taller, but the statue is sitting). Since then the Spring Temple Buddha has been built in China, and at 128 m (420 ft) it is the tallest statue in the world. Plans for the construction of the Spring Temple Buddha were announced soon after the blowing up of the Bamiyan Buddhas and China condemned the systematic destruction of the Buddhist heritage of Afghanistan.

The smaller of the statues was built between 544 and 595, the larger was built between 591 and 644. They are believed to have been built by the Kushans, with the guidance of local Buddhist monks, at the heyday of their empire. The larger figure was also said to portray Dīpankara Buddha. They were perhaps the most famous cultural landmarks of the region, and the site was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site along with the surrounding cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley. Their color faded through time.

Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang visited the site on 30 April 630 CE, and described Bamiyan in the Da Tang Xiyu Ji as a flourishing Buddhist center "with more than ten monasteries and more than a thousand monks". He also noted that both Buddha figures were "decorated with gold and fine jewels" (Wriggins, 1995). Intriguingly, Xuanzang mentions a third, even larger, reclining statue of the Buddha. A monumental seated Buddha, similar in style to those at Bamiyan, still exists in the Bingling Temple caves in China’s Gansu province.

The destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas became a symbol of oppression and a rallying point for the freedom of religious expression. Despite the fact that most Afghans are now Muslim, they too had embraced their past and many were appalled by the destruction.

Attacks on the Buddha’s statue 11th to the 20th century
In CE 1221 with the advent of Genghis Khan "a terrible disaster befell Bamiyan, nevertheless, the statues were spared. Later, the last Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, tried to use heavy artillery to destroy the statues. Another attempt to destroy the Bamiyan statues was made by the 18th century Persian king Nader Afshar, directing cannon fire at them.

The enormous statues, the male Salsal ("light shines through the universe") and the (smaller) female Shamama ("Queen Mother"), as they were called by the locals, did not fail to fire the imagination of Islamic writers in centuries past. The larger statue reappears as the malevolent giant Salsal in medieval Turkish tales.

Afghan king Abdur Rahman Khan destroyed its face during military campaign against Shia Hazara rebellion. A Frenchman named Dureau had pictured it in 1847.

Preface to 2001, under the Taliban
Abdul Wahed, a Taliban commander operating in the area, announced his intention to blow up the Buddhas in 1997 even before he had taken control of the valley. Once he was in control of Bamiyan in 1998, Wahed drilled holes in the Buddhas’ heads for explosives. He was prevented from taking further action by the local governor and direct order of Mullah Omar, although tyres were burnt on the head of the great Buddha. In July 1999, Mullah Mohammed Omar issued a decree in favor of the preservation of the Bamiyan Buddha statues. Because Afghanistan’s Buddhist population no longer exists, so the statues are no longer worshiped, he added: "The government considers the Bamiyan statues as an example of a potential major source of income for Afghanistan from international visitors. The Taliban states that Bamiyan shall not be destroyed but protected.In early 2000, local Taliban authorities asked for UN assistance to rebuild drainage ditches around tops of the alcoves where the Buddhas were set.

However, Afghanistan’s radical clerics began a campaign to crack down on "un-Islamic" segments of Afghan society. The Taliban soon banned all forms of imagery, music and sports, including television, in accordance with what they considered a strict interpretation of Sharia.

Information and Culture Minister Qadratullah Jamal told Associated Press of a decision by 400 religious clerics from across Afghanistan declaring the Buddhist statues against the tenets of Islam. "They came out with a consensus that the statues were against Islam," said Jamal.

According to UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, a meeting of ambassadors from the 54 member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) was conducted. All OIC states – including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, three countries that officially recognised the Taliban government – joined the protest to spare the monuments. Saudi Arabia and the UAE later condemned the destruction as "savage". Although India never recognised the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, New Delhi offered to arrange for the transfer of all the artifacts in question to India, "where they would be kept safely and preserved for all mankind." These overtures were rejected by the Taliban. Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf sent Moinuddin Haider to Kabul to try to prevent the destruction, by arguing that it was un-Islamic and unprecedented.[33] According to Taliban minister, Abdul Salam Zaeef, UNESCO sent the Taliban government 36 letters objecting to the proposed destruction. He asserted that the Chinese, Japanese and Sri Lankan delegates were the most strident advocates for preserving the Buddhas. The Japanese in particular proposed a variety of different solutions to the issue, these included moving the statues to Japan, covering the statues from view and the payment of money.

A statement issued by the ministry of religious affairs of Taliban regime justified the destruction as being in accordance with Islamic law. Abdul Salam Zaeef held that the destruction of the Buddhas was finally ordered by Abdul Wali, the Minister for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.

Dynamiting and destruction, March 2001 by the Taliban
The statues were destroyed by dynamite over several weeks, starting on 2 March 2001, carried out in stages. Initially, the statues were fired at for several days using anti-aircraft guns and artillery. This caused severe damage, but did not obliterate them. During the destruction, Taliban Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal lamented that, "this work of destruction is not as simple as people might think. You can’t knock down the statues by shelling as both are carved into a cliff; they are firmly attached to the mountain."[38] Later, the Taliban placed anti-tank mines at the bottom of the niches, so that when fragments of rock broke off from artillery fire, the statues would receive additional destruction from particles that set off the mines. In the end, the Taliban lowered men down the cliff face and placed explosives into holes in the Buddhas. After one of the explosions failed to completely obliterate the face of one of the Buddhas, a rocket was launched that left a hole in the remains of the stone head.

On 6 March 2001 The Times quoted Mullah Mohammed Omar as stating, "Muslims should be proud of smashing idols. It has given praise to God that we have destroyed them. During a 13 March interview for Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun, Afghan Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakel stated that the destruction was anything but a retaliation against the international community for economic sanctions: "We are destroying the statues in accordance with Islamic law and it is purely a religious issue.

On 18 March, The New York Times reported that a Taliban envoy said the Islamic government made its decision in a rage after a foreign delegation offered money to preserve the ancient works. The report also added, however, that other reports "have said the religious leaders were debating the move for months, and ultimately decided that the statues were idolatrous and should be obliterated.

Then Taliban -at-large Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi said that the destruction of the statues was carried out by the Head Council of Scholars after a Swedish monuments expert proposed to restore the statues’ heads. Hashimi is reported as saying: "When the Afghan head council asked them to provide the money to feed the children instead of fixing the statues, they refused and said, ‘No, the money is just for the statues, not for the children’. Herein, they made the decision to destroy the statues; however, he did not comment on the claim that a foreign museum offered to buy the Buddhist statues, the money from which could have been used to feed children.

The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas despite protests from the international community has been described by Michael Falser, a heritage expert at the Center for Transcultural Studies in Germany, as an attack by the Taliban against the globalising concept of "cultural heritage". The director general of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Koichiro Matsurra called the destruction a "…crime against culture. It is abominable to witness the cold and calculated destruction of cultural properties which were the heritage of the Afghan people, and, indeed, of the whole of humanity.

Commitment to rebuild
Though the figures of the two large Buddhas are almost completely destroyed, their outlines and some features are still recognizable within the recesses. It is also still possible for visitors to explore the monks’ caves and passages that connect them. As part of the international effort to rebuild Afghanistan after the Taliban war, the Government of Japan and several other organizations, among them the Afghanistan Institute in Bubendorf, Switzerland, along with the ETH in Zurich, have committed to rebuilding, perhaps by anastylosis, the two larger Buddhas.

Developments since 2002
In May 2002, a sculpture of the Buddha was carved out of a mountain in Sri Lanka. It was designed to closely resemble one of the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

The Afghan government has commissioned Japanese artist Hiro Yamagata to recreate the Bamiyan Buddhas using fourteen laser systems to project the images of the Buddhas onto the cliff where they once stood. The laser systems will be solar and wind-powered. The project, which will cost an estimated million, is currently pending UNESCO approval.

In September 2005, Mawlawi Mohammed Islam Mohammadi, Taliban governor of Bamiyan province at the time of the destruction and widely seen as responsible for its occurrence, was elected to the Afghan Parliament. On 26 January 2007, he was assassinated in Kabul.

Swiss filmmaker Christian Frei made a 95-minute documentary titled The Giant Buddhas (released in March 2006) on the statues, the international reactions to their destruction, and an overview of the controversy. Testimony by local Afghans validates that Osama Bin Laden ordered the destruction and that, initially, Mullah Omar and the Afghans in Bamiyan opposed it.[46]

Since 2002, international funding has supported recovery and stabilization efforts at the site. Fragments of the statues are documented and stored with special attention given to securing the structure of the statue still in place. It is hoped that, in the future, partial anastylosis can be conducted with the remaining fragments. In 2009, ICOMOS constructed scaffolding within the niche to further conservation and stabilization. Nonetheless, several serious conservation and safety issues exist and the Buddhas are still listed as World Heritage in Danger.

In the summer of 2006, Afghan officials were deciding on the timetable for the re-construction of the statues. As they wait for the Afghan government and international community to decide when to rebuild them, a .3 million UNESCO-funded project is sorting out the chunks of clay and plaster — ranging from boulders weighing several tons to fragments the size of tennis balls — and sheltering them from the elements.
The Buddhist remnants at Bamiyan were included on the 2008 World Monuments Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund.

Discoveries
After the destruction of the Buddhas, 50 caves were revealed. In 12 of the caves, wall paintings were discovered. In December 2004, an international team of researchers stated the wall paintings at Bamiyan were painted between the 5th and the 9th centuries, rather than the 6th to 8th centuries, citing their analysis of radioactive isotopes contained in straw fibers found beneath the paintings. It is believed that the paintings were done by artists travelling on the Silk Road, the trade route between China and the West.

Scientists from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Tokyo (Japan), the Centre of Research and Restoration of the French Museums-CNRS (France), the Getty Conservation Institute (United States) and the ESRF (the European Synchrotron radiation facility) in Grenoble analysed samples from the paintings, typically less than 1 mm across. They discovered that the paint contained pigments such as vermilion (red mercury sulfide) and lead white (lead carbonate). These were mixed with a range of binders, including natural resins, gums (possibly animal skin glue or egg) and oils, probably derived from walnuts or poppies. Specifically, researchers identified drying oils from murals showing Buddhas in vermilion robes sitting cross-legged amid palm leaves and mythical creatures as being painted in the middle of the 7th century. It is believed that they are the oldest known surviving examples of oil painting, possibly predating oil painting in Europe by as much as six centuries. The discovery may lead to a reassessment of works in ancient ruins in Iran, China, Pakistan, Turkey and India.

Initial suspicion that the oils might be attributable to contamination from fingers, as the touching of the painting is encouraged in Buddhist tradition, was dispelled by spectroscopy and chromatography giving an unambiguous signal for the intentional use of drying oils rather than contaminants. Oils were discovered underneath layers of paint, unlike surface contaminants.

Scientists also found the beginning section of the original Sanskrit Pratītyasamutpāda Sutra translated by Xuanzang that spelled out the basic belief of Buddhism and said all things are transient.

Another giant statue unearthed
On 8 September 2008 archeologists searching for a legendary 300-metre statue at the site of the already dynamited Buddhas announced the discovery of an unknown 19-metre (62-foot) reclining Buddha, a pose representing Buddha’s passage into nirvana.

Restoration
The UNESCO Expert Working Group on Afghan cultural projects convened to discuss what to do about the two statues between 3–4 March 2011 in Paris. Researcher Erwin Emmerling of Technical University Munich announced he believed it would be possible to restore the smaller statue using an organic silicon compound. The Paris conference issued a list of 39 recommendations for the safeguarding of the Bamiyan site. These included leaving the larger Western niche empty as a monument to the destruction of the Buddhas, a feasibility study into the rebuilding of the Eastern Buddha, and the construction of a central museum and several smaller site museums. Work has since begun on restoring the Buddhas using the process of anastylosis, where original elements are combined with modern material. It is estimated that roughly half the pieces of the Buddhas can be put back together according to Bert Praxenthaler, a German art historian and sculptor involved in the restoration. The restoration of the caves and Buddhas has also involved training and employing local people as stone carvers. The project, which also aims to encourage tourism to the area, is being organised by UNESCO and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). The work has come under some criticism. It is felt by some that the empty niches should be left as monuments to the fanaticism of the Taliban, while others believe the money could be better spent on housing and electricity for the region. Some point out tourism as a draw to rebuild the Buddhas which would aid the surrounding communities.

Bamiyan Valley from where the Buddha once stood
Radioactive materials

Image by james_gordon_losangeles
The Buddhas of Bamiyan were two 6th century monumental statues of standing buddha carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan Valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, 230 km (140 mi) northwest of Kabul at an altitude of 2,500 meters (8,202 ft). Built in 507 CE, the larger in 554 CE, the statues represented the classic blended style of Gandhara art.

The main bodies were hewn directly from the sandstone cliffs, but details were modeled in mud mixed with straw, coated with stucco. This coating, practically all of which wore away long ago, was painted to enhance the expressions of the faces, hands and folds of the robes; the larger one was painted carmine red and the smaller one was painted multiple colors.

The lower parts of the statues’ arms were constructed from the same mud-straw mix while supported on wooden armatures. It is believed that the upper parts of their faces were made from great wooden masks or casts. Rows of holes that can be seen in photographs were spaces that held wooden pegs that stabilized the outer stucco.

The two Buddhas were dynamited and destroyed March 2001 by Taliban members on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were idols and therefore anti-islamic. International opinion strongly condemned the destruction of the Buddhas, which was viewed as an example of the intolerance of the Taliban. Japan and Switzerland, among others, have pledged support for the rebuilding of the statues.

Photojournalist David Adams filmed the Buddhas prior to their destruction for an episode of Journeys to the Ends of the Earth, a travel series for the Discovery Channel.

History
Bamiyan lies on the Silk Road, which runs through the Hindu Kush mountain region, in the Bamiyan Valley. The Silk Road has been historically a caravan route linking the markets of China with those of the Western world. It was the site of several Buddhist monasteries, and a thriving center for religion, philosophy, and art. Monks at the monasteries lived as hermits in small caves carved into the side of the Bamiyan cliffs. Most of these monks embellished their caves with religious statuary and elaborate, brightly colored frescoes and oil-based paintings. It was a Buddhist religious site from the 2nd century up to the time of the Islamic invasion in the later half of the 7th century. Until it was completely conquered by the Muslim Saffarids in the 9th century, Bamiyan shared the culture of Gandhara.

The two most prominent statues were the giant standing Buddhas Vairocana and Sakyamuni, identified by the different mudras performed. The Buddha popularly called "Solsol" measures 53 meters tall, and "Shahmama" 35 meters – the niches in which the figures stand are 58 and 38 meters from botom to top. Before being blown up in 2001 they were the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world (the 8th century Leshan Giant Buddha is taller, but the statue is sitting). Since then the Spring Temple Buddha has been built in China, and at 128 m (420 ft) it is the tallest statue in the world. Plans for the construction of the Spring Temple Buddha were announced soon after the blowing up of the Bamiyan Buddhas and China condemned the systematic destruction of the Buddhist heritage of Afghanistan.

The smaller of the statues was built between 544 and 595, the larger was built between 591 and 644. They are believed to have been built by the Kushans, with the guidance of local Buddhist monks, at the heyday of their empire. The larger figure was also said to portray Dīpankara Buddha. They were perhaps the most famous cultural landmarks of the region, and the site was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site along with the surrounding cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley. Their color faded through time.

Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang visited the site on 30 April 630 CE, and described Bamiyan in the Da Tang Xiyu Ji as a flourishing Buddhist center "with more than ten monasteries and more than a thousand monks". He also noted that both Buddha figures were "decorated with gold and fine jewels" (Wriggins, 1995). Intriguingly, Xuanzang mentions a third, even larger, reclining statue of the Buddha. A monumental seated Buddha, similar in style to those at Bamiyan, still exists in the Bingling Temple caves in China’s Gansu province.

The destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas became a symbol of oppression and a rallying point for the freedom of religious expression. Despite the fact that most Afghans are now Muslim, they too had embraced their past and many were appalled by the destruction.

Attacks on the Buddha’s statue 11th to the 20th century
In CE 1221 with the advent of Genghis Khan "a terrible disaster befell Bamiyan, nevertheless, the statues were spared. Later, the last Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, tried to use heavy artillery to destroy the statues. Another attempt to destroy the Bamiyan statues was made by the 18th century Persian king Nader Afshar, directing cannon fire at them.

The enormous statues, the male Salsal ("light shines through the universe") and the (smaller) female Shamama ("Queen Mother"), as they were called by the locals, did not fail to fire the imagination of Islamic writers in centuries past. The larger statue reappears as the malevolent giant Salsal in medieval Turkish tales.

Afghan king Abdur Rahman Khan destroyed its face during military campaign against Shia Hazara rebellion. A Frenchman named Dureau had pictured it in 1847.

Preface to 2001, under the Taliban
Abdul Wahed, a Taliban commander operating in the area, announced his intention to blow up the Buddhas in 1997 even before he had taken control of the valley. Once he was in control of Bamiyan in 1998, Wahed drilled holes in the Buddhas’ heads for explosives. He was prevented from taking further action by the local governor and direct order of Mullah Omar, although tyres were burnt on the head of the great Buddha. In July 1999, Mullah Mohammed Omar issued a decree in favor of the preservation of the Bamiyan Buddha statues. Because Afghanistan’s Buddhist population no longer exists, so the statues are no longer worshiped, he added: "The government considers the Bamiyan statues as an example of a potential major source of income for Afghanistan from international visitors. The Taliban states that Bamiyan shall not be destroyed but protected.In early 2000, local Taliban authorities asked for UN assistance to rebuild drainage ditches around tops of the alcoves where the Buddhas were set.

However, Afghanistan’s radical clerics began a campaign to crack down on "un-Islamic" segments of Afghan society. The Taliban soon banned all forms of imagery, music and sports, including television, in accordance with what they considered a strict interpretation of Sharia.

Information and Culture Minister Qadratullah Jamal told Associated Press of a decision by 400 religious clerics from across Afghanistan declaring the Buddhist statues against the tenets of Islam. "They came out with a consensus that the statues were against Islam," said Jamal.

According to UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, a meeting of ambassadors from the 54 member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) was conducted. All OIC states – including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, three countries that officially recognised the Taliban government – joined the protest to spare the monuments. Saudi Arabia and the UAE later condemned the destruction as "savage". Although India never recognised the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, New Delhi offered to arrange for the transfer of all the artifacts in question to India, "where they would be kept safely and preserved for all mankind." These overtures were rejected by the Taliban. Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf sent Moinuddin Haider to Kabul to try to prevent the destruction, by arguing that it was un-Islamic and unprecedented.[33] According to Taliban minister, Abdul Salam Zaeef, UNESCO sent the Taliban government 36 letters objecting to the proposed destruction. He asserted that the Chinese, Japanese and Sri Lankan delegates were the most strident advocates for preserving the Buddhas. The Japanese in particular proposed a variety of different solutions to the issue, these included moving the statues to Japan, covering the statues from view and the payment of money.

A statement issued by the ministry of religious affairs of Taliban regime justified the destruction as being in accordance with Islamic law. Abdul Salam Zaeef held that the destruction of the Buddhas was finally ordered by Abdul Wali, the Minister for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.

Dynamiting and destruction, March 2001 by the Taliban
The statues were destroyed by dynamite over several weeks, starting on 2 March 2001, carried out in stages. Initially, the statues were fired at for several days using anti-aircraft guns and artillery. This caused severe damage, but did not obliterate them. During the destruction, Taliban Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal lamented that, "this work of destruction is not as simple as people might think. You can’t knock down the statues by shelling as both are carved into a cliff; they are firmly attached to the mountain."[38] Later, the Taliban placed anti-tank mines at the bottom of the niches, so that when fragments of rock broke off from artillery fire, the statues would receive additional destruction from particles that set off the mines. In the end, the Taliban lowered men down the cliff face and placed explosives into holes in the Buddhas. After one of the explosions failed to completely obliterate the face of one of the Buddhas, a rocket was launched that left a hole in the remains of the stone head.

On 6 March 2001 The Times quoted Mullah Mohammed Omar as stating, "Muslims should be proud of smashing idols. It has given praise to God that we have destroyed them. During a 13 March interview for Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun, Afghan Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakel stated that the destruction was anything but a retaliation against the international community for economic sanctions: "We are destroying the statues in accordance with Islamic law and it is purely a religious issue.

On 18 March, The New York Times reported that a Taliban envoy said the Islamic government made its decision in a rage after a foreign delegation offered money to preserve the ancient works. The report also added, however, that other reports "have said the religious leaders were debating the move for months, and ultimately decided that the statues were idolatrous and should be obliterated.

Then Taliban -at-large Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi said that the destruction of the statues was carried out by the Head Council of Scholars after a Swedish monuments expert proposed to restore the statues’ heads. Hashimi is reported as saying: "When the Afghan head council asked them to provide the money to feed the children instead of fixing the statues, they refused and said, ‘No, the money is just for the statues, not for the children’. Herein, they made the decision to destroy the statues; however, he did not comment on the claim that a foreign museum offered to buy the Buddhist statues, the money from which could have been used to feed children.

The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas despite protests from the international community has been described by Michael Falser, a heritage expert at the Center for Transcultural Studies in Germany, as an attack by the Taliban against the globalising concept of "cultural heritage". The director general of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Koichiro Matsurra called the destruction a "…crime against culture. It is abominable to witness the cold and calculated destruction of cultural properties which were the heritage of the Afghan people, and, indeed, of the whole of humanity.

Commitment to rebuild
Though the figures of the two large Buddhas are almost completely destroyed, their outlines and some features are still recognizable within the recesses. It is also still possible for visitors to explore the monks’ caves and passages that connect them. As part of the international effort to rebuild Afghanistan after the Taliban war, the Government of Japan and several other organizations, among them the Afghanistan Institute in Bubendorf, Switzerland, along with the ETH in Zurich, have committed to rebuilding, perhaps by anastylosis, the two larger Buddhas.

Developments since 2002
In May 2002, a sculpture of the Buddha was carved out of a mountain in Sri Lanka. It was designed to closely resemble one of the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

The Afghan government has commissioned Japanese artist Hiro Yamagata to recreate the Bamiyan Buddhas using fourteen laser systems to project the images of the Buddhas onto the cliff where they once stood. The laser systems will be solar and wind-powered. The project, which will cost an estimated million, is currently pending UNESCO approval.

In September 2005, Mawlawi Mohammed Islam Mohammadi, Taliban governor of Bamiyan province at the time of the destruction and widely seen as responsible for its occurrence, was elected to the Afghan Parliament. On 26 January 2007, he was assassinated in Kabul.

Swiss filmmaker Christian Frei made a 95-minute documentary titled The Giant Buddhas (released in March 2006) on the statues, the international reactions to their destruction, and an overview of the controversy. Testimony by local Afghans validates that Osama Bin Laden ordered the destruction and that, initially, Mullah Omar and the Afghans in Bamiyan opposed it.[46]

Since 2002, international funding has supported recovery and stabilization efforts at the site. Fragments of the statues are documented and stored with special attention given to securing the structure of the statue still in place. It is hoped that, in the future, partial anastylosis can be conducted with the remaining fragments. In 2009, ICOMOS constructed scaffolding within the niche to further conservation and stabilization. Nonetheless, several serious conservation and safety issues exist and the Buddhas are still listed as World Heritage in Danger.

In the summer of 2006, Afghan officials were deciding on the timetable for the re-construction of the statues. As they wait for the Afghan government and international community to decide when to rebuild them, a .3 million UNESCO-funded project is sorting out the chunks of clay and plaster — ranging from boulders weighing several tons to fragments the size of tennis balls — and sheltering them from the elements.
The Buddhist remnants at Bamiyan were included on the 2008 World Monuments Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund.

Discoveries
After the destruction of the Buddhas, 50 caves were revealed. In 12 of the caves, wall paintings were discovered. In December 2004, an international team of researchers stated the wall paintings at Bamiyan were painted between the 5th and the 9th centuries, rather than the 6th to 8th centuries, citing their analysis of radioactive isotopes contained in straw fibers found beneath the paintings. It is believed that the paintings were done by artists travelling on the Silk Road, the trade route between China and the West.

Scientists from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Tokyo (Japan), the Centre of Research and Restoration of the French Museums-CNRS (France), the Getty Conservation Institute (United States) and the ESRF (the European Synchrotron radiation facility) in Grenoble analysed samples from the paintings, typically less than 1 mm across. They discovered that the paint contained pigments such as vermilion (red mercury sulfide) and lead white (lead carbonate). These were mixed with a range of binders, including natural resins, gums (possibly animal skin glue or egg) and oils, probably derived from walnuts or poppies. Specifically, researchers identified drying oils from murals showing Buddhas in vermilion robes sitting cross-legged amid palm leaves and mythical creatures as being painted in the middle of the 7th century. It is believed that they are the oldest known surviving examples of oil painting, possibly predating oil painting in Europe by as much as six centuries. The discovery may lead to a reassessment of works in ancient ruins in Iran, China, Pakistan, Turkey and India.

Initial suspicion that the oils might be attributable to contamination from fingers, as the touching of the painting is encouraged in Buddhist tradition, was dispelled by spectroscopy and chromatography giving an unambiguous signal for the intentional use of drying oils rather than contaminants. Oils were discovered underneath layers of paint, unlike surface contaminants.

Scientists also found the beginning section of the original Sanskrit Pratītyasamutpāda Sutra translated by Xuanzang that spelled out the basic belief of Buddhism and said all things are transient.

Another giant statue unearthed
On 8 September 2008 archeologists searching for a legendary 300-metre statue at the site of the already dynamited Buddhas announced the discovery of an unknown 19-metre (62-foot) reclining Buddha, a pose representing Buddha’s passage into nirvana.

Restoration
The UNESCO Expert Working Group on Afghan cultural projects convened to discuss what to do about the two statues between 3–4 March 2011 in Paris. Researcher Erwin Emmerling of Technical University Munich announced he believed it would be possible to restore the smaller statue using an organic silicon compound. The Paris conference issued a list of 39 recommendations for the safeguarding of the Bamiyan site. These included leaving the larger Western niche empty as a monument to the destruction of the Buddhas, a feasibility study into the rebuilding of the Eastern Buddha, and the construction of a central museum and several smaller site museums. Work has since begun on restoring the Buddhas using the process of anastylosis, where original elements are combined with modern material. It is estimated that roughly half the pieces of the Buddhas can be put back together according to Bert Praxenthaler, a German art historian and sculptor involved in the restoration. The restoration of the caves and Buddhas has also involved training and employing local people as stone carvers. The project, which also aims to encourage tourism to the area, is being organised by UNESCO and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). The work has come under some criticism. It is felt by some that the empty niches should be left as monuments to the fanaticism of the Taliban, while others believe the money could be better spent on housing and electricity for the region. Some point out tourism as a draw to rebuild the Buddhas which would aid the surrounding communities.

Destroyed Buddha, Bamiyan, Afghanistan
Radioactive materials

Image by james_gordon_losangeles
The Buddhas of Bamiyan were two 6th century monumental statues of standing buddha carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan Valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, 230 km (140 mi) northwest of Kabul at an altitude of 2,500 meters (8,202 ft). Built in 507 CE, the larger in 554 CE, the statues represented the classic blended style of Gandhara art.

The main bodies were hewn directly from the sandstone cliffs, but details were modeled in mud mixed with straw, coated with stucco. This coating, practically all of which wore away long ago, was painted to enhance the expressions of the faces, hands and folds of the robes; the larger one was painted carmine red and the smaller one was painted multiple colors.

The lower parts of the statues’ arms were constructed from the same mud-straw mix while supported on wooden armatures. It is believed that the upper parts of their faces were made from great wooden masks or casts. Rows of holes that can be seen in photographs were spaces that held wooden pegs that stabilized the outer stucco.

The two Buddhas were dynamited and destroyed March 2001 by Taliban members on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were idols and therefore anti-islamic. International opinion strongly condemned the destruction of the Buddhas, which was viewed as an example of the intolerance of the Taliban. Japan and Switzerland, among others, have pledged support for the rebuilding of the statues.

Photojournalist David Adams filmed the Buddhas prior to their destruction for an episode of Journeys to the Ends of the Earth, a travel series for the Discovery Channel.

History
Bamiyan lies on the Silk Road, which runs through the Hindu Kush mountain region, in the Bamiyan Valley. The Silk Road has been historically a caravan route linking the markets of China with those of the Western world. It was the site of several Buddhist monasteries, and a thriving center for religion, philosophy, and art. Monks at the monasteries lived as hermits in small caves carved into the side of the Bamiyan cliffs. Most of these monks embellished their caves with religious statuary and elaborate, brightly colored frescoes and oil-based paintings. It was a Buddhist religious site from the 2nd century up to the time of the Islamic invasion in the later half of the 7th century. Until it was completely conquered by the Muslim Saffarids in the 9th century, Bamiyan shared the culture of Gandhara.

The two most prominent statues were the giant standing Buddhas Vairocana and Sakyamuni, identified by the different mudras performed. The Buddha popularly called "Solsol" measures 53 meters tall, and "Shahmama" 35 meters – the niches in which the figures stand are 58 and 38 meters from botom to top. Before being blown up in 2001 they were the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world (the 8th century Leshan Giant Buddha is taller, but the statue is sitting). Since then the Spring Temple Buddha has been built in China, and at 128 m (420 ft) it is the tallest statue in the world. Plans for the construction of the Spring Temple Buddha were announced soon after the blowing up of the Bamiyan Buddhas and China condemned the systematic destruction of the Buddhist heritage of Afghanistan.

The smaller of the statues was built between 544 and 595, the larger was built between 591 and 644. They are believed to have been built by the Kushans, with the guidance of local Buddhist monks, at the heyday of their empire. The larger figure was also said to portray Dīpankara Buddha. They were perhaps the most famous cultural landmarks of the region, and the site was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site along with the surrounding cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley. Their color faded through time.

Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang visited the site on 30 April 630 CE, and described Bamiyan in the Da Tang Xiyu Ji as a flourishing Buddhist center "with more than ten monasteries and more than a thousand monks". He also noted that both Buddha figures were "decorated with gold and fine jewels" (Wriggins, 1995). Intriguingly, Xuanzang mentions a third, even larger, reclining statue of the Buddha. A monumental seated Buddha, similar in style to those at Bamiyan, still exists in the Bingling Temple caves in China’s Gansu province.

The destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas became a symbol of oppression and a rallying point for the freedom of religious expression. Despite the fact that most Afghans are now Muslim, they too had embraced their past and many were appalled by the destruction.

Attacks on the Buddha’s statue 11th to the 20th century
In CE 1221 with the advent of Genghis Khan "a terrible disaster befell Bamiyan, nevertheless, the statues were spared. Later, the last Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, tried to use heavy artillery to destroy the statues. Another attempt to destroy the Bamiyan statues was made by the 18th century Persian king Nader Afshar, directing cannon fire at them.

The enormous statues, the male Salsal ("light shines through the universe") and the (smaller) female Shamama ("Queen Mother"), as they were called by the locals, did not fail to fire the imagination of Islamic writers in centuries past. The larger statue reappears as the malevolent giant Salsal in medieval Turkish tales.

Afghan king Abdur Rahman Khan destroyed its face during military campaign against Shia Hazara rebellion. A Frenchman named Dureau had pictured it in 1847.

Preface to 2001, under the Taliban
Abdul Wahed, a Taliban commander operating in the area, announced his intention to blow up the Buddhas in 1997 even before he had taken control of the valley. Once he was in control of Bamiyan in 1998, Wahed drilled holes in the Buddhas’ heads for explosives. He was prevented from taking further action by the local governor and direct order of Mullah Omar, although tyres were burnt on the head of the great Buddha. In July 1999, Mullah Mohammed Omar issued a decree in favor of the preservation of the Bamiyan Buddha statues. Because Afghanistan’s Buddhist population no longer exists, so the statues are no longer worshiped, he added: "The government considers the Bamiyan statues as an example of a potential major source of income for Afghanistan from international visitors. The Taliban states that Bamiyan shall not be destroyed but protected.In early 2000, local Taliban authorities asked for UN assistance to rebuild drainage ditches around tops of the alcoves where the Buddhas were set.

However, Afghanistan’s radical clerics began a campaign to crack down on "un-Islamic" segments of Afghan society. The Taliban soon banned all forms of imagery, music and sports, including television, in accordance with what they considered a strict interpretation of Sharia.

Information and Culture Minister Qadratullah Jamal told Associated Press of a decision by 400 religious clerics from across Afghanistan declaring the Buddhist statues against the tenets of Islam. "They came out with a consensus that the statues were against Islam," said Jamal.

According to UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, a meeting of ambassadors from the 54 member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) was conducted. All OIC states – including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, three countries that officially recognised the Taliban government – joined the protest to spare the monuments. Saudi Arabia and the UAE later condemned the destruction as "savage". Although India never recognised the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, New Delhi offered to arrange for the transfer of all the artifacts in question to India, "where they would be kept safely and preserved for all mankind." These overtures were rejected by the Taliban. Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf sent Moinuddin Haider to Kabul to try to prevent the destruction, by arguing that it was un-Islamic and unprecedented.[33] According to Taliban minister, Abdul Salam Zaeef, UNESCO sent the Taliban government 36 letters objecting to the proposed destruction. He asserted that the Chinese, Japanese and Sri Lankan delegates were the most strident advocates for preserving the Buddhas. The Japanese in particular proposed a variety of different solutions to the issue, these included moving the statues to Japan, covering the statues from view and the payment of money.

A statement issued by the ministry of religious affairs of Taliban regime justified the destruction as being in accordance with Islamic law. Abdul Salam Zaeef held that the destruction of the Buddhas was finally ordered by Abdul Wali, the Minister for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.

Dynamiting and destruction, March 2001 by the Taliban
The statues were destroyed by dynamite over several weeks, starting on 2 March 2001, carried out in stages. Initially, the statues were fired at for several days using anti-aircraft guns and artillery. This caused severe damage, but did not obliterate them. During the destruction, Taliban Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal lamented that, "this work of destruction is not as simple as people might think. You can’t knock down the statues by shelling as both are carved into a cliff; they are firmly attached to the mountain."[38] Later, the Taliban placed anti-tank mines at the bottom of the niches, so that when fragments of rock broke off from artillery fire, the statues would receive additional destruction from particles that set off the mines. In the end, the Taliban lowered men down the cliff face and placed explosives into holes in the Buddhas. After one of the explosions failed to completely obliterate the face of one of the Buddhas, a rocket was launched that left a hole in the remains of the stone head.

On 6 March 2001 The Times quoted Mullah Mohammed Omar as stating, "Muslims should be proud of smashing idols. It has given praise to God that we have destroyed them. During a 13 March interview for Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun, Afghan Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakel stated that the destruction was anything but a retaliation against the international community for economic sanctions: "We are destroying the statues in accordance with Islamic law and it is purely a religious issue.

On 18 March, The New York Times reported that a Taliban envoy said the Islamic government made its decision in a rage after a foreign delegation offered money to preserve the ancient works. The report also added, however, that other reports "have said the religious leaders were debating the move for months, and ultimately decided that the statues were idolatrous and should be obliterated.

Then Taliban -at-large Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi said that the destruction of the statues was carried out by the Head Council of Scholars after a Swedish monuments expert proposed to restore the statues’ heads. Hashimi is reported as saying: "When the Afghan head council asked them to provide the money to feed the children instead of fixing the statues, they refused and said, ‘No, the money is just for the statues, not for the children’. Herein, they made the decision to destroy the statues; however, he did not comment on the claim that a foreign museum offered to buy the Buddhist statues, the money from which could have been used to feed children.

The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas despite protests from the international community has been described by Michael Falser, a heritage expert at the Center for Transcultural Studies in Germany, as an attack by the Taliban against the globalising concept of "cultural heritage". The director general of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Koichiro Matsurra called the destruction a "…crime against culture. It is abominable to witness the cold and calculated destruction of cultural properties which were the heritage of the Afghan people, and, indeed, of the whole of humanity.

Commitment to rebuild
Though the figures of the two large Buddhas are almost completely destroyed, their outlines and some features are still recognizable within the recesses. It is also still possible for visitors to explore the monks’ caves and passages that connect them. As part of the international effort to rebuild Afghanistan after the Taliban war, the Government of Japan and several other organizations, among them the Afghanistan Institute in Bubendorf, Switzerland, along with the ETH in Zurich, have committed to rebuilding, perhaps by anastylosis, the two larger Buddhas.

Developments since 2002
In May 2002, a sculpture of the Buddha was carved out of a mountain in Sri Lanka. It was designed to closely resemble one of the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

The Afghan government has commissioned Japanese artist Hiro Yamagata to recreate the Bamiyan Buddhas using fourteen laser systems to project the images of the Buddhas onto the cliff where they once stood. The laser systems will be solar and wind-powered. The project, which will cost an estimated million, is currently pending UNESCO approval.

In September 2005, Mawlawi Mohammed Islam Mohammadi, Taliban governor of Bamiyan province at the time of the destruction and widely seen as responsible for its occurrence, was elected to the Afghan Parliament. On 26 January 2007, he was assassinated in Kabul.

Swiss filmmaker Christian Frei made a 95-minute documentary titled The Giant Buddhas (released in March 2006) on the statues, the international reactions to their destruction, and an overview of the controversy. Testimony by local Afghans validates that Osama Bin Laden ordered the destruction and that, initially, Mullah Omar and the Afghans in Bamiyan opposed it.[46]

Since 2002, international funding has supported recovery and stabilization efforts at the site. Fragments of the statues are documented and stored with special attention given to securing the structure of the statue still in place. It is hoped that, in the future, partial anastylosis can be conducted with the remaining fragments. In 2009, ICOMOS constructed scaffolding within the niche to further conservation and stabilization. Nonetheless, several serious conservation and safety issues exist and the Buddhas are still listed as World Heritage in Danger.

In the summer of 2006, Afghan officials were deciding on the timetable for the re-construction of the statues. As they wait for the Afghan government and international community to decide when to rebuild them, a .3 million UNESCO-funded project is sorting out the chunks of clay and plaster — ranging from boulders weighing several tons to fragments the size of tennis balls — and sheltering them from the elements.
The Buddhist remnants at Bamiyan were included on the 2008 World Monuments Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund.

Discoveries
After the destruction of the Buddhas, 50 caves were revealed. In 12 of the caves, wall paintings were discovered. In December 2004, an international team of researchers stated the wall paintings at Bamiyan were painted between the 5th and the 9th centuries, rather than the 6th to 8th centuries, citing their analysis of radioactive isotopes contained in straw fibers found beneath the paintings. It is believed that the paintings were done by artists travelling on the Silk Road, the trade route between China and the West.

Scientists from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Tokyo (Japan), the Centre of Research and Restoration of the French Museums-CNRS (France), the Getty Conservation Institute (United States) and the ESRF (the European Synchrotron radiation facility) in Grenoble analysed samples from the paintings, typically less than 1 mm across. They discovered that the paint contained pigments such as vermilion (red mercury sulfide) and lead white (lead carbonate). These were mixed with a range of binders, including natural resins, gums (possibly animal skin glue or egg) and oils, probably derived from walnuts or poppies. Specifically, researchers identified drying oils from murals showing Buddhas in vermilion robes sitting cross-legged amid palm leaves and mythical creatures as being painted in the middle of the 7th century. It is believed that they are the oldest known surviving examples of oil painting, possibly predating oil painting in Europe by as much as six centuries. The discovery may lead to a reassessment of works in ancient ruins in Iran, China, Pakistan, Turkey and India.

Initial suspicion that the oils might be attributable to contamination from fingers, as the touching of the painting is encouraged in Buddhist tradition, was dispelled by spectroscopy and chromatography giving an unambiguous signal for the intentional use of drying oils rather than contaminants. Oils were discovered underneath layers of paint, unlike surface contaminants.

Scientists also found the beginning section of the original Sanskrit Pratītyasamutpāda Sutra translated by Xuanzang that spelled out the basic belief of Buddhism and said all things are transient.

Another giant statue unearthed
On 8 September 2008 archeologists searching for a legendary 300-metre statue at the site of the already dynamited Buddhas announced the discovery of an unknown 19-metre (62-foot) reclining Buddha, a pose representing Buddha’s passage into nirvana.

Restoration
The UNESCO Expert Working Group on Afghan cultural projects convened to discuss what to do about the two statues between 3–4 March 2011 in Paris. Researcher Erwin Emmerling of Technical University Munich announced he believed it would be possible to restore the smaller statue using an organic silicon compound. The Paris conference issued a list of 39 recommendations for the safeguarding of the Bamiyan site. These included leaving the larger Western niche empty as a monument to the destruction of the Buddhas, a feasibility study into the rebuilding of the Eastern Buddha, and the construction of a central museum and several smaller site museums. Work has since begun on restoring the Buddhas using the process of anastylosis, where original elements are combined with modern material. It is estimated that roughly half the pieces of the Buddhas can be put back together according to Bert Praxenthaler, a German art historian and sculptor involved in the restoration. The restoration of the caves and Buddhas has also involved training and employing local people as stone carvers. The project, which also aims to encourage tourism to the area, is being organised by UNESCO and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). The work has come under some criticism. It is felt by some that the empty niches should be left as monuments to the fanaticism of the Taliban, while others believe the money could be better spent on housing and electricity for the region. Some point out tourism as a draw to rebuild the Buddhas which would aid the surrounding communities.

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Top of the niche, destroyed Buddha, Bamiyan, Afghanistan

Top of the niche, destroyed Buddha, Bamiyan, Afghanistan
Radioactive materials

Image by james_gordon_losangeles
The Buddhas of Bamiyan were two 6th century monumental statues of standing buddha carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan Valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, 230 km (140 mi) northwest of Kabul at an altitude of 2,500 meters (8,202 ft). Built in 507 CE, the larger in 554 CE, the statues represented the classic blended style of Gandhara art.

The main bodies were hewn directly from the sandstone cliffs, but details were modeled in mud mixed with straw, coated with stucco. This coating, practically all of which wore away long ago, was painted to enhance the expressions of the faces, hands and folds of the robes; the larger one was painted carmine red and the smaller one was painted multiple colors.

The lower parts of the statues’ arms were constructed from the same mud-straw mix while supported on wooden armatures. It is believed that the upper parts of their faces were made from great wooden masks or casts. Rows of holes that can be seen in photographs were spaces that held wooden pegs that stabilized the outer stucco.

The two Buddhas were dynamited and destroyed March 2001 by Taliban members on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were idols and therefore anti-islamic. International opinion strongly condemned the destruction of the Buddhas, which was viewed as an example of the intolerance of the Taliban. Japan and Switzerland, among others, have pledged support for the rebuilding of the statues.

Photojournalist David Adams filmed the Buddhas prior to their destruction for an episode of Journeys to the Ends of the Earth, a travel series for the Discovery Channel.

History
Bamiyan lies on the Silk Road, which runs through the Hindu Kush mountain region, in the Bamiyan Valley. The Silk Road has been historically a caravan route linking the markets of China with those of the Western world. It was the site of several Buddhist monasteries, and a thriving center for religion, philosophy, and art. Monks at the monasteries lived as hermits in small caves carved into the side of the Bamiyan cliffs. Most of these monks embellished their caves with religious statuary and elaborate, brightly colored frescoes and oil-based paintings. It was a Buddhist religious site from the 2nd century up to the time of the Islamic invasion in the later half of the 7th century. Until it was completely conquered by the Muslim Saffarids in the 9th century, Bamiyan shared the culture of Gandhara.

The two most prominent statues were the giant standing Buddhas Vairocana and Sakyamuni, identified by the different mudras performed. The Buddha popularly called "Solsol" measures 53 meters tall, and "Shahmama" 35 meters – the niches in which the figures stand are 58 and 38 meters from botom to top. Before being blown up in 2001 they were the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world (the 8th century Leshan Giant Buddha is taller, but the statue is sitting). Since then the Spring Temple Buddha has been built in China, and at 128 m (420 ft) it is the tallest statue in the world. Plans for the construction of the Spring Temple Buddha were announced soon after the blowing up of the Bamiyan Buddhas and China condemned the systematic destruction of the Buddhist heritage of Afghanistan.

The smaller of the statues was built between 544 and 595, the larger was built between 591 and 644. They are believed to have been built by the Kushans, with the guidance of local Buddhist monks, at the heyday of their empire. The larger figure was also said to portray Dīpankara Buddha. They were perhaps the most famous cultural landmarks of the region, and the site was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site along with the surrounding cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley. Their color faded through time.

Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang visited the site on 30 April 630 CE, and described Bamiyan in the Da Tang Xiyu Ji as a flourishing Buddhist center "with more than ten monasteries and more than a thousand monks". He also noted that both Buddha figures were "decorated with gold and fine jewels" (Wriggins, 1995). Intriguingly, Xuanzang mentions a third, even larger, reclining statue of the Buddha. A monumental seated Buddha, similar in style to those at Bamiyan, still exists in the Bingling Temple caves in China’s Gansu province.

The destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas became a symbol of oppression and a rallying point for the freedom of religious expression. Despite the fact that most Afghans are now Muslim, they too had embraced their past and many were appalled by the destruction.

Attacks on the Buddha’s statue 11th to the 20th century
In CE 1221 with the advent of Genghis Khan "a terrible disaster befell Bamiyan, nevertheless, the statues were spared. Later, the last Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, tried to use heavy artillery to destroy the statues. Another attempt to destroy the Bamiyan statues was made by the 18th century Persian king Nader Afshar, directing cannon fire at them.

The enormous statues, the male Salsal ("light shines through the universe") and the (smaller) female Shamama ("Queen Mother"), as they were called by the locals, did not fail to fire the imagination of Islamic writers in centuries past. The larger statue reappears as the malevolent giant Salsal in medieval Turkish tales.

Afghan king Abdur Rahman Khan destroyed its face during military campaign against Shia Hazara rebellion. A Frenchman named Dureau had pictured it in 1847.

Preface to 2001, under the Taliban
Abdul Wahed, a Taliban commander operating in the area, announced his intention to blow up the Buddhas in 1997 even before he had taken control of the valley. Once he was in control of Bamiyan in 1998, Wahed drilled holes in the Buddhas’ heads for explosives. He was prevented from taking further action by the local governor and direct order of Mullah Omar, although tyres were burnt on the head of the great Buddha. In July 1999, Mullah Mohammed Omar issued a decree in favor of the preservation of the Bamiyan Buddha statues. Because Afghanistan’s Buddhist population no longer exists, so the statues are no longer worshiped, he added: "The government considers the Bamiyan statues as an example of a potential major source of income for Afghanistan from international visitors. The Taliban states that Bamiyan shall not be destroyed but protected.In early 2000, local Taliban authorities asked for UN assistance to rebuild drainage ditches around tops of the alcoves where the Buddhas were set.

However, Afghanistan’s radical clerics began a campaign to crack down on "un-Islamic" segments of Afghan society. The Taliban soon banned all forms of imagery, music and sports, including television, in accordance with what they considered a strict interpretation of Sharia.

Information and Culture Minister Qadratullah Jamal told Associated Press of a decision by 400 religious clerics from across Afghanistan declaring the Buddhist statues against the tenets of Islam. "They came out with a consensus that the statues were against Islam," said Jamal.

According to UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, a meeting of ambassadors from the 54 member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) was conducted. All OIC states – including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, three countries that officially recognised the Taliban government – joined the protest to spare the monuments. Saudi Arabia and the UAE later condemned the destruction as "savage". Although India never recognised the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, New Delhi offered to arrange for the transfer of all the artifacts in question to India, "where they would be kept safely and preserved for all mankind." These overtures were rejected by the Taliban. Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf sent Moinuddin Haider to Kabul to try to prevent the destruction, by arguing that it was un-Islamic and unprecedented.[33] According to Taliban minister, Abdul Salam Zaeef, UNESCO sent the Taliban government 36 letters objecting to the proposed destruction. He asserted that the Chinese, Japanese and Sri Lankan delegates were the most strident advocates for preserving the Buddhas. The Japanese in particular proposed a variety of different solutions to the issue, these included moving the statues to Japan, covering the statues from view and the payment of money.

A statement issued by the ministry of religious affairs of Taliban regime justified the destruction as being in accordance with Islamic law. Abdul Salam Zaeef held that the destruction of the Buddhas was finally ordered by Abdul Wali, the Minister for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.

Dynamiting and destruction, March 2001 by the Taliban
The statues were destroyed by dynamite over several weeks, starting on 2 March 2001, carried out in stages. Initially, the statues were fired at for several days using anti-aircraft guns and artillery. This caused severe damage, but did not obliterate them. During the destruction, Taliban Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal lamented that, "this work of destruction is not as simple as people might think. You can’t knock down the statues by shelling as both are carved into a cliff; they are firmly attached to the mountain."[38] Later, the Taliban placed anti-tank mines at the bottom of the niches, so that when fragments of rock broke off from artillery fire, the statues would receive additional destruction from particles that set off the mines. In the end, the Taliban lowered men down the cliff face and placed explosives into holes in the Buddhas. After one of the explosions failed to completely obliterate the face of one of the Buddhas, a rocket was launched that left a hole in the remains of the stone head.

On 6 March 2001 The Times quoted Mullah Mohammed Omar as stating, "Muslims should be proud of smashing idols. It has given praise to God that we have destroyed them. During a 13 March interview for Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun, Afghan Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakel stated that the destruction was anything but a retaliation against the international community for economic sanctions: "We are destroying the statues in accordance with Islamic law and it is purely a religious issue.

On 18 March, The New York Times reported that a Taliban envoy said the Islamic government made its decision in a rage after a foreign delegation offered money to preserve the ancient works. The report also added, however, that other reports "have said the religious leaders were debating the move for months, and ultimately decided that the statues were idolatrous and should be obliterated.

Then Taliban -at-large Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi said that the destruction of the statues was carried out by the Head Council of Scholars after a Swedish monuments expert proposed to restore the statues’ heads. Hashimi is reported as saying: "When the Afghan head council asked them to provide the money to feed the children instead of fixing the statues, they refused and said, ‘No, the money is just for the statues, not for the children’. Herein, they made the decision to destroy the statues; however, he did not comment on the claim that a foreign museum offered to buy the Buddhist statues, the money from which could have been used to feed children.

The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas despite protests from the international community has been described by Michael Falser, a heritage expert at the Center for Transcultural Studies in Germany, as an attack by the Taliban against the globalising concept of "cultural heritage". The director general of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Koichiro Matsurra called the destruction a "…crime against culture. It is abominable to witness the cold and calculated destruction of cultural properties which were the heritage of the Afghan people, and, indeed, of the whole of humanity.

Commitment to rebuild
Though the figures of the two large Buddhas are almost completely destroyed, their outlines and some features are still recognizable within the recesses. It is also still possible for visitors to explore the monks’ caves and passages that connect them. As part of the international effort to rebuild Afghanistan after the Taliban war, the Government of Japan and several other organizations, among them the Afghanistan Institute in Bubendorf, Switzerland, along with the ETH in Zurich, have committed to rebuilding, perhaps by anastylosis, the two larger Buddhas.

Developments since 2002
In May 2002, a sculpture of the Buddha was carved out of a mountain in Sri Lanka. It was designed to closely resemble one of the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

The Afghan government has commissioned Japanese artist Hiro Yamagata to recreate the Bamiyan Buddhas using fourteen laser systems to project the images of the Buddhas onto the cliff where they once stood. The laser systems will be solar and wind-powered. The project, which will cost an estimated million, is currently pending UNESCO approval.

In September 2005, Mawlawi Mohammed Islam Mohammadi, Taliban governor of Bamiyan province at the time of the destruction and widely seen as responsible for its occurrence, was elected to the Afghan Parliament. On 26 January 2007, he was assassinated in Kabul.

Swiss filmmaker Christian Frei made a 95-minute documentary titled The Giant Buddhas (released in March 2006) on the statues, the international reactions to their destruction, and an overview of the controversy. Testimony by local Afghans validates that Osama Bin Laden ordered the destruction and that, initially, Mullah Omar and the Afghans in Bamiyan opposed it.[46]

Since 2002, international funding has supported recovery and stabilization efforts at the site. Fragments of the statues are documented and stored with special attention given to securing the structure of the statue still in place. It is hoped that, in the future, partial anastylosis can be conducted with the remaining fragments. In 2009, ICOMOS constructed scaffolding within the niche to further conservation and stabilization. Nonetheless, several serious conservation and safety issues exist and the Buddhas are still listed as World Heritage in Danger.

In the summer of 2006, Afghan officials were deciding on the timetable for the re-construction of the statues. As they wait for the Afghan government and international community to decide when to rebuild them, a .3 million UNESCO-funded project is sorting out the chunks of clay and plaster — ranging from boulders weighing several tons to fragments the size of tennis balls — and sheltering them from the elements.
The Buddhist remnants at Bamiyan were included on the 2008 World Monuments Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund.

Discoveries
After the destruction of the Buddhas, 50 caves were revealed. In 12 of the caves, wall paintings were discovered. In December 2004, an international team of researchers stated the wall paintings at Bamiyan were painted between the 5th and the 9th centuries, rather than the 6th to 8th centuries, citing their analysis of radioactive isotopes contained in straw fibers found beneath the paintings. It is believed that the paintings were done by artists travelling on the Silk Road, the trade route between China and the West.

Scientists from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Tokyo (Japan), the Centre of Research and Restoration of the French Museums-CNRS (France), the Getty Conservation Institute (United States) and the ESRF (the European Synchrotron radiation facility) in Grenoble analysed samples from the paintings, typically less than 1 mm across. They discovered that the paint contained pigments such as vermilion (red mercury sulfide) and lead white (lead carbonate). These were mixed with a range of binders, including natural resins, gums (possibly animal skin glue or egg) and oils, probably derived from walnuts or poppies. Specifically, researchers identified drying oils from murals showing Buddhas in vermilion robes sitting cross-legged amid palm leaves and mythical creatures as being painted in the middle of the 7th century. It is believed that they are the oldest known surviving examples of oil painting, possibly predating oil painting in Europe by as much as six centuries. The discovery may lead to a reassessment of works in ancient ruins in Iran, China, Pakistan, Turkey and India.

Initial suspicion that the oils might be attributable to contamination from fingers, as the touching of the painting is encouraged in Buddhist tradition, was dispelled by spectroscopy and chromatography giving an unambiguous signal for the intentional use of drying oils rather than contaminants. Oils were discovered underneath layers of paint, unlike surface contaminants.

Scientists also found the beginning section of the original Sanskrit Pratītyasamutpāda Sutra translated by Xuanzang that spelled out the basic belief of Buddhism and said all things are transient.

Another giant statue unearthed
On 8 September 2008 archeologists searching for a legendary 300-metre statue at the site of the already dynamited Buddhas announced the discovery of an unknown 19-metre (62-foot) reclining Buddha, a pose representing Buddha’s passage into nirvana.

Restoration
The UNESCO Expert Working Group on Afghan cultural projects convened to discuss what to do about the two statues between 3–4 March 2011 in Paris. Researcher Erwin Emmerling of Technical University Munich announced he believed it would be possible to restore the smaller statue using an organic silicon compound. The Paris conference issued a list of 39 recommendations for the safeguarding of the Bamiyan site. These included leaving the larger Western niche empty as a monument to the destruction of the Buddhas, a feasibility study into the rebuilding of the Eastern Buddha, and the construction of a central museum and several smaller site museums. Work has since begun on restoring the Buddhas using the process of anastylosis, where original elements are combined with modern material. It is estimated that roughly half the pieces of the Buddhas can be put back together according to Bert Praxenthaler, a German art historian and sculptor involved in the restoration. The restoration of the caves and Buddhas has also involved training and employing local people as stone carvers. The project, which also aims to encourage tourism to the area, is being organised by UNESCO and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). The work has come under some criticism. It is felt by some that the empty niches should be left as monuments to the fanaticism of the Taliban, while others believe the money could be better spent on housing and electricity for the region. Some point out tourism as a draw to rebuild the Buddhas which would aid the surrounding communities.

Bamiyan Buddha before Taliban destruction
Radioactive materials

Image by james_gordon_losangeles
The Buddhas of Bamiyan were two 6th century monumental statues of standing buddha carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan Valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, 230 km (140 mi) northwest of Kabul at an altitude of 2,500 meters (8,202 ft). Built in 507 CE, the larger in 554 CE, the statues represented the classic blended style of Gandhara art.

The main bodies were hewn directly from the sandstone cliffs, but details were modeled in mud mixed with straw, coated with stucco. This coating, practically all of which wore away long ago, was painted to enhance the expressions of the faces, hands and folds of the robes; the larger one was painted carmine red and the smaller one was painted multiple colors.

The lower parts of the statues’ arms were constructed from the same mud-straw mix while supported on wooden armatures. It is believed that the upper parts of their faces were made from great wooden masks or casts. Rows of holes that can be seen in photographs were spaces that held wooden pegs that stabilized the outer stucco.

The two Buddhas were dynamited and destroyed March 2001 by Taliban members on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were idols and therefore anti-islamic. International opinion strongly condemned the destruction of the Buddhas, which was viewed as an example of the intolerance of the Taliban. Japan and Switzerland, among others, have pledged support for the rebuilding of the statues.

Photojournalist David Adams filmed the Buddhas prior to their destruction for an episode of Journeys to the Ends of the Earth, a travel series for the Discovery Channel.

History
Bamiyan lies on the Silk Road, which runs through the Hindu Kush mountain region, in the Bamiyan Valley. The Silk Road has been historically a caravan route linking the markets of China with those of the Western world. It was the site of several Buddhist monasteries, and a thriving center for religion, philosophy, and art. Monks at the monasteries lived as hermits in small caves carved into the side of the Bamiyan cliffs. Most of these monks embellished their caves with religious statuary and elaborate, brightly colored frescoes and oil-based paintings. It was a Buddhist religious site from the 2nd century up to the time of the Islamic invasion in the later half of the 7th century. Until it was completely conquered by the Muslim Saffarids in the 9th century, Bamiyan shared the culture of Gandhara.

The two most prominent statues were the giant standing Buddhas Vairocana and Sakyamuni, identified by the different mudras performed. The Buddha popularly called "Solsol" measures 53 meters tall, and "Shahmama" 35 meters – the niches in which the figures stand are 58 and 38 meters from botom to top. Before being blown up in 2001 they were the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world (the 8th century Leshan Giant Buddha is taller, but the statue is sitting). Since then the Spring Temple Buddha has been built in China, and at 128 m (420 ft) it is the tallest statue in the world. Plans for the construction of the Spring Temple Buddha were announced soon after the blowing up of the Bamiyan Buddhas and China condemned the systematic destruction of the Buddhist heritage of Afghanistan.

The smaller of the statues was built between 544 and 595, the larger was built between 591 and 644. They are believed to have been built by the Kushans, with the guidance of local Buddhist monks, at the heyday of their empire. The larger figure was also said to portray Dīpankara Buddha. They were perhaps the most famous cultural landmarks of the region, and the site was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site along with the surrounding cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley. Their color faded through time.

Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang visited the site on 30 April 630 CE, and described Bamiyan in the Da Tang Xiyu Ji as a flourishing Buddhist center "with more than ten monasteries and more than a thousand monks". He also noted that both Buddha figures were "decorated with gold and fine jewels" (Wriggins, 1995). Intriguingly, Xuanzang mentions a third, even larger, reclining statue of the Buddha. A monumental seated Buddha, similar in style to those at Bamiyan, still exists in the Bingling Temple caves in China’s Gansu province.

The destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas became a symbol of oppression and a rallying point for the freedom of religious expression. Despite the fact that most Afghans are now Muslim, they too had embraced their past and many were appalled by the destruction.

Attacks on the Buddha’s statue 11th to the 20th century
In CE 1221 with the advent of Genghis Khan "a terrible disaster befell Bamiyan, nevertheless, the statues were spared. Later, the last Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, tried to use heavy artillery to destroy the statues. Another attempt to destroy the Bamiyan statues was made by the 18th century Persian king Nader Afshar, directing cannon fire at them.

The enormous statues, the male Salsal ("light shines through the universe") and the (smaller) female Shamama ("Queen Mother"), as they were called by the locals, did not fail to fire the imagination of Islamic writers in centuries past. The larger statue reappears as the malevolent giant Salsal in medieval Turkish tales.

Afghan king Abdur Rahman Khan destroyed its face during military campaign against Shia Hazara rebellion. A Frenchman named Dureau had pictured it in 1847.

Preface to 2001, under the Taliban
Abdul Wahed, a Taliban commander operating in the area, announced his intention to blow up the Buddhas in 1997 even before he had taken control of the valley. Once he was in control of Bamiyan in 1998, Wahed drilled holes in the Buddhas’ heads for explosives. He was prevented from taking further action by the local governor and direct order of Mullah Omar, although tyres were burnt on the head of the great Buddha. In July 1999, Mullah Mohammed Omar issued a decree in favor of the preservation of the Bamiyan Buddha statues. Because Afghanistan’s Buddhist population no longer exists, so the statues are no longer worshiped, he added: "The government considers the Bamiyan statues as an example of a potential major source of income for Afghanistan from international visitors. The Taliban states that Bamiyan shall not be destroyed but protected.In early 2000, local Taliban authorities asked for UN assistance to rebuild drainage ditches around tops of the alcoves where the Buddhas were set.

However, Afghanistan’s radical clerics began a campaign to crack down on "un-Islamic" segments of Afghan society. The Taliban soon banned all forms of imagery, music and sports, including television, in accordance with what they considered a strict interpretation of Sharia.

Information and Culture Minister Qadratullah Jamal told Associated Press of a decision by 400 religious clerics from across Afghanistan declaring the Buddhist statues against the tenets of Islam. "They came out with a consensus that the statues were against Islam," said Jamal.

According to UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, a meeting of ambassadors from the 54 member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) was conducted. All OIC states – including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, three countries that officially recognised the Taliban government – joined the protest to spare the monuments. Saudi Arabia and the UAE later condemned the destruction as "savage". Although India never recognised the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, New Delhi offered to arrange for the transfer of all the artifacts in question to India, "where they would be kept safely and preserved for all mankind." These overtures were rejected by the Taliban. Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf sent Moinuddin Haider to Kabul to try to prevent the destruction, by arguing that it was un-Islamic and unprecedented.[33] According to Taliban minister, Abdul Salam Zaeef, UNESCO sent the Taliban government 36 letters objecting to the proposed destruction. He asserted that the Chinese, Japanese and Sri Lankan delegates were the most strident advocates for preserving the Buddhas. The Japanese in particular proposed a variety of different solutions to the issue, these included moving the statues to Japan, covering the statues from view and the payment of money.

A statement issued by the ministry of religious affairs of Taliban regime justified the destruction as being in accordance with Islamic law. Abdul Salam Zaeef held that the destruction of the Buddhas was finally ordered by Abdul Wali, the Minister for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.

Dynamiting and destruction, March 2001 by the Taliban
The statues were destroyed by dynamite over several weeks, starting on 2 March 2001, carried out in stages. Initially, the statues were fired at for several days using anti-aircraft guns and artillery. This caused severe damage, but did not obliterate them. During the destruction, Taliban Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal lamented that, "this work of destruction is not as simple as people might think. You can’t knock down the statues by shelling as both are carved into a cliff; they are firmly attached to the mountain."[38] Later, the Taliban placed anti-tank mines at the bottom of the niches, so that when fragments of rock broke off from artillery fire, the statues would receive additional destruction from particles that set off the mines. In the end, the Taliban lowered men down the cliff face and placed explosives into holes in the Buddhas. After one of the explosions failed to completely obliterate the face of one of the Buddhas, a rocket was launched that left a hole in the remains of the stone head.

On 6 March 2001 The Times quoted Mullah Mohammed Omar as stating, "Muslims should be proud of smashing idols. It has given praise to God that we have destroyed them. During a 13 March interview for Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun, Afghan Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakel stated that the destruction was anything but a retaliation against the international community for economic sanctions: "We are destroying the statues in accordance with Islamic law and it is purely a religious issue.

On 18 March, The New York Times reported that a Taliban envoy said the Islamic government made its decision in a rage after a foreign delegation offered money to preserve the ancient works. The report also added, however, that other reports "have said the religious leaders were debating the move for months, and ultimately decided that the statues were idolatrous and should be obliterated.

Then Taliban -at-large Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi said that the destruction of the statues was carried out by the Head Council of Scholars after a Swedish monuments expert proposed to restore the statues’ heads. Hashimi is reported as saying: "When the Afghan head council asked them to provide the money to feed the children instead of fixing the statues, they refused and said, ‘No, the money is just for the statues, not for the children’. Herein, they made the decision to destroy the statues; however, he did not comment on the claim that a foreign museum offered to buy the Buddhist statues, the money from which could have been used to feed children.

The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas despite protests from the international community has been described by Michael Falser, a heritage expert at the Center for Transcultural Studies in Germany, as an attack by the Taliban against the globalising concept of "cultural heritage". The director general of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Koichiro Matsurra called the destruction a "…crime against culture. It is abominable to witness the cold and calculated destruction of cultural properties which were the heritage of the Afghan people, and, indeed, of the whole of humanity.

Commitment to rebuild
Though the figures of the two large Buddhas are almost completely destroyed, their outlines and some features are still recognizable within the recesses. It is also still possible for visitors to explore the monks’ caves and passages that connect them. As part of the international effort to rebuild Afghanistan after the Taliban war, the Government of Japan and several other organizations, among them the Afghanistan Institute in Bubendorf, Switzerland, along with the ETH in Zurich, have committed to rebuilding, perhaps by anastylosis, the two larger Buddhas.

Developments since 2002
In May 2002, a sculpture of the Buddha was carved out of a mountain in Sri Lanka. It was designed to closely resemble one of the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

The Afghan government has commissioned Japanese artist Hiro Yamagata to recreate the Bamiyan Buddhas using fourteen laser systems to project the images of the Buddhas onto the cliff where they once stood. The laser systems will be solar and wind-powered. The project, which will cost an estimated million, is currently pending UNESCO approval.

In September 2005, Mawlawi Mohammed Islam Mohammadi, Taliban governor of Bamiyan province at the time of the destruction and widely seen as responsible for its occurrence, was elected to the Afghan Parliament. On 26 January 2007, he was assassinated in Kabul.

Swiss filmmaker Christian Frei made a 95-minute documentary titled The Giant Buddhas (released in March 2006) on the statues, the international reactions to their destruction, and an overview of the controversy. Testimony by local Afghans validates that Osama Bin Laden ordered the destruction and that, initially, Mullah Omar and the Afghans in Bamiyan opposed it.[46]

Since 2002, international funding has supported recovery and stabilization efforts at the site. Fragments of the statues are documented and stored with special attention given to securing the structure of the statue still in place. It is hoped that, in the future, partial anastylosis can be conducted with the remaining fragments. In 2009, ICOMOS constructed scaffolding within the niche to further conservation and stabilization. Nonetheless, several serious conservation and safety issues exist and the Buddhas are still listed as World Heritage in Danger.

In the summer of 2006, Afghan officials were deciding on the timetable for the re-construction of the statues. As they wait for the Afghan government and international community to decide when to rebuild them, a .3 million UNESCO-funded project is sorting out the chunks of clay and plaster — ranging from boulders weighing several tons to fragments the size of tennis balls — and sheltering them from the elements.
The Buddhist remnants at Bamiyan were included on the 2008 World Monuments Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund.

Discoveries
After the destruction of the Buddhas, 50 caves were revealed. In 12 of the caves, wall paintings were discovered. In December 2004, an international team of researchers stated the wall paintings at Bamiyan were painted between the 5th and the 9th centuries, rather than the 6th to 8th centuries, citing their analysis of radioactive isotopes contained in straw fibers found beneath the paintings. It is believed that the paintings were done by artists travelling on the Silk Road, the trade route between China and the West.

Scientists from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Tokyo (Japan), the Centre of Research and Restoration of the French Museums-CNRS (France), the Getty Conservation Institute (United States) and the ESRF (the European Synchrotron radiation facility) in Grenoble analysed samples from the paintings, typically less than 1 mm across. They discovered that the paint contained pigments such as vermilion (red mercury sulfide) and lead white (lead carbonate). These were mixed with a range of binders, including natural resins, gums (possibly animal skin glue or egg) and oils, probably derived from walnuts or poppies. Specifically, researchers identified drying oils from murals showing Buddhas in vermilion robes sitting cross-legged amid palm leaves and mythical creatures as being painted in the middle of the 7th century. It is believed that they are the oldest known surviving examples of oil painting, possibly predating oil painting in Europe by as much as six centuries. The discovery may lead to a reassessment of works in ancient ruins in Iran, China, Pakistan, Turkey and India.

Initial suspicion that the oils might be attributable to contamination from fingers, as the touching of the painting is encouraged in Buddhist tradition, was dispelled by spectroscopy and chromatography giving an unambiguous signal for the intentional use of drying oils rather than contaminants. Oils were discovered underneath layers of paint, unlike surface contaminants.

Scientists also found the beginning section of the original Sanskrit Pratītyasamutpāda Sutra translated by Xuanzang that spelled out the basic belief of Buddhism and said all things are transient.

Another giant statue unearthed
On 8 September 2008 archeologists searching for a legendary 300-metre statue at the site of the already dynamited Buddhas announced the discovery of an unknown 19-metre (62-foot) reclining Buddha, a pose representing Buddha’s passage into nirvana.

Restoration
The UNESCO Expert Working Group on Afghan cultural projects convened to discuss what to do about the two statues between 3–4 March 2011 in Paris. Researcher Erwin Emmerling of Technical University Munich announced he believed it would be possible to restore the smaller statue using an organic silicon compound. The Paris conference issued a list of 39 recommendations for the safeguarding of the Bamiyan site. These included leaving the larger Western niche empty as a monument to the destruction of the Buddhas, a feasibility study into the rebuilding of the Eastern Buddha, and the construction of a central museum and several smaller site museums. Work has since begun on restoring the Buddhas using the process of anastylosis, where original elements are combined with modern material. It is estimated that roughly half the pieces of the Buddhas can be put back together according to Bert Praxenthaler, a German art historian and sculptor involved in the restoration. The restoration of the caves and Buddhas has also involved training and employing local people as stone carvers. The project, which also aims to encourage tourism to the area, is being organised by UNESCO and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). The work has come under some criticism. It is felt by some that the empty niches should be left as monuments to the fanaticism of the Taliban, while others believe the money could be better spent on housing and electricity for the region. Some point out tourism as a draw to rebuild the Buddhas which would aid the surrounding communities.

Bamiyan Buddha before Taliban destruction
Radioactive materials

Image by james_gordon_losangeles
The Buddhas of Bamiyan were two 6th century monumental statues of standing buddha carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan Valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, 230 km (140 mi) northwest of Kabul at an altitude of 2,500 meters (8,202 ft). Built in 507 CE, the larger in 554 CE, the statues represented the classic blended style of Gandhara art.

The main bodies were hewn directly from the sandstone cliffs, but details were modeled in mud mixed with straw, coated with stucco. This coating, practically all of which wore away long ago, was painted to enhance the expressions of the faces, hands and folds of the robes; the larger one was painted carmine red and the smaller one was painted multiple colors.

The lower parts of the statues’ arms were constructed from the same mud-straw mix while supported on wooden armatures. It is believed that the upper parts of their faces were made from great wooden masks or casts. Rows of holes that can be seen in photographs were spaces that held wooden pegs that stabilized the outer stucco.

The two Buddhas were dynamited and destroyed March 2001 by Taliban members on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were idols and therefore anti-islamic. International opinion strongly condemned the destruction of the Buddhas, which was viewed as an example of the intolerance of the Taliban. Japan and Switzerland, among others, have pledged support for the rebuilding of the statues.

Photojournalist David Adams filmed the Buddhas prior to their destruction for an episode of Journeys to the Ends of the Earth, a travel series for the Discovery Channel.

History
Bamiyan lies on the Silk Road, which runs through the Hindu Kush mountain region, in the Bamiyan Valley. The Silk Road has been historically a caravan route linking the markets of China with those of the Western world. It was the site of several Buddhist monasteries, and a thriving center for religion, philosophy, and art. Monks at the monasteries lived as hermits in small caves carved into the side of the Bamiyan cliffs. Most of these monks embellished their caves with religious statuary and elaborate, brightly colored frescoes and oil-based paintings. It was a Buddhist religious site from the 2nd century up to the time of the Islamic invasion in the later half of the 7th century. Until it was completely conquered by the Muslim Saffarids in the 9th century, Bamiyan shared the culture of Gandhara.

The two most prominent statues were the giant standing Buddhas Vairocana and Sakyamuni, identified by the different mudras performed. The Buddha popularly called "Solsol" measures 53 meters tall, and "Shahmama" 35 meters – the niches in which the figures stand are 58 and 38 meters from botom to top. Before being blown up in 2001 they were the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world (the 8th century Leshan Giant Buddha is taller, but the statue is sitting). Since then the Spring Temple Buddha has been built in China, and at 128 m (420 ft) it is the tallest statue in the world. Plans for the construction of the Spring Temple Buddha were announced soon after the blowing up of the Bamiyan Buddhas and China condemned the systematic destruction of the Buddhist heritage of Afghanistan.

The smaller of the statues was built between 544 and 595, the larger was built between 591 and 644. They are believed to have been built by the Kushans, with the guidance of local Buddhist monks, at the heyday of their empire. The larger figure was also said to portray Dīpankara Buddha. They were perhaps the most famous cultural landmarks of the region, and the site was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site along with the surrounding cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley. Their color faded through time.

Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang visited the site on 30 April 630 CE, and described Bamiyan in the Da Tang Xiyu Ji as a flourishing Buddhist center "with more than ten monasteries and more than a thousand monks". He also noted that both Buddha figures were "decorated with gold and fine jewels" (Wriggins, 1995). Intriguingly, Xuanzang mentions a third, even larger, reclining statue of the Buddha. A monumental seated Buddha, similar in style to those at Bamiyan, still exists in the Bingling Temple caves in China’s Gansu province.

The destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas became a symbol of oppression and a rallying point for the freedom of religious expression. Despite the fact that most Afghans are now Muslim, they too had embraced their past and many were appalled by the destruction.

Attacks on the Buddha’s statue 11th to the 20th century
In CE 1221 with the advent of Genghis Khan "a terrible disaster befell Bamiyan, nevertheless, the statues were spared. Later, the last Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, tried to use heavy artillery to destroy the statues. Another attempt to destroy the Bamiyan statues was made by the 18th century Persian king Nader Afshar, directing cannon fire at them.

The enormous statues, the male Salsal ("light shines through the universe") and the (smaller) female Shamama ("Queen Mother"), as they were called by the locals, did not fail to fire the imagination of Islamic writers in centuries past. The larger statue reappears as the malevolent giant Salsal in medieval Turkish tales.

Afghan king Abdur Rahman Khan destroyed its face during military campaign against Shia Hazara rebellion. A Frenchman named Dureau had pictured it in 1847.

Preface to 2001, under the Taliban
Abdul Wahed, a Taliban commander operating in the area, announced his intention to blow up the Buddhas in 1997 even before he had taken control of the valley. Once he was in control of Bamiyan in 1998, Wahed drilled holes in the Buddhas’ heads for explosives. He was prevented from taking further action by the local governor and direct order of Mullah Omar, although tyres were burnt on the head of the great Buddha. In July 1999, Mullah Mohammed Omar issued a decree in favor of the preservation of the Bamiyan Buddha statues. Because Afghanistan’s Buddhist population no longer exists, so the statues are no longer worshiped, he added: "The government considers the Bamiyan statues as an example of a potential major source of income for Afghanistan from international visitors. The Taliban states that Bamiyan shall not be destroyed but protected.In early 2000, local Taliban authorities asked for UN assistance to rebuild drainage ditches around tops of the alcoves where the Buddhas were set.

However, Afghanistan’s radical clerics began a campaign to crack down on "un-Islamic" segments of Afghan society. The Taliban soon banned all forms of imagery, music and sports, including television, in accordance with what they considered a strict interpretation of Sharia.

Information and Culture Minister Qadratullah Jamal told Associated Press of a decision by 400 religious clerics from across Afghanistan declaring the Buddhist statues against the tenets of Islam. "They came out with a consensus that the statues were against Islam," said Jamal.

According to UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, a meeting of ambassadors from the 54 member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) was conducted. All OIC states – including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, three countries that officially recognised the Taliban government – joined the protest to spare the monuments. Saudi Arabia and the UAE later condemned the destruction as "savage". Although India never recognised the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, New Delhi offered to arrange for the transfer of all the artifacts in question to India, "where they would be kept safely and preserved for all mankind." These overtures were rejected by the Taliban. Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf sent Moinuddin Haider to Kabul to try to prevent the destruction, by arguing that it was un-Islamic and unprecedented.[33] According to Taliban minister, Abdul Salam Zaeef, UNESCO sent the Taliban government 36 letters objecting to the proposed destruction. He asserted that the Chinese, Japanese and Sri Lankan delegates were the most strident advocates for preserving the Buddhas. The Japanese in particular proposed a variety of different solutions to the issue, these included moving the statues to Japan, covering the statues from view and the payment of money.

A statement issued by the ministry of religious affairs of Taliban regime justified the destruction as being in accordance with Islamic law. Abdul Salam Zaeef held that the destruction of the Buddhas was finally ordered by Abdul Wali, the Minister for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.

Dynamiting and destruction, March 2001 by the Taliban
The statues were destroyed by dynamite over several weeks, starting on 2 March 2001, carried out in stages. Initially, the statues were fired at for several days using anti-aircraft guns and artillery. This caused severe damage, but did not obliterate them. During the destruction, Taliban Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal lamented that, "this work of destruction is not as simple as people might think. You can’t knock down the statues by shelling as both are carved into a cliff; they are firmly attached to the mountain."[38] Later, the Taliban placed anti-tank mines at the bottom of the niches, so that when fragments of rock broke off from artillery fire, the statues would receive additional destruction from particles that set off the mines. In the end, the Taliban lowered men down the cliff face and placed explosives into holes in the Buddhas. After one of the explosions failed to completely obliterate the face of one of the Buddhas, a rocket was launched that left a hole in the remains of the stone head.

On 6 March 2001 The Times quoted Mullah Mohammed Omar as stating, "Muslims should be proud of smashing idols. It has given praise to God that we have destroyed them. During a 13 March interview for Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun, Afghan Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakel stated that the destruction was anything but a retaliation against the international community for economic sanctions: "We are destroying the statues in accordance with Islamic law and it is purely a religious issue.

On 18 March, The New York Times reported that a Taliban envoy said the Islamic government made its decision in a rage after a foreign delegation offered money to preserve the ancient works. The report also added, however, that other reports "have said the religious leaders were debating the move for months, and ultimately decided that the statues were idolatrous and should be obliterated.

Then Taliban -at-large Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi said that the destruction of the statues was carried out by the Head Council of Scholars after a Swedish monuments expert proposed to restore the statues’ heads. Hashimi is reported as saying: "When the Afghan head council asked them to provide the money to feed the children instead of fixing the statues, they refused and said, ‘No, the money is just for the statues, not for the children’. Herein, they made the decision to destroy the statues; however, he did not comment on the claim that a foreign museum offered to buy the Buddhist statues, the money from which could have been used to feed children.

The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas despite protests from the international community has been described by Michael Falser, a heritage expert at the Center for Transcultural Studies in Germany, as an attack by the Taliban against the globalising concept of "cultural heritage". The director general of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Koichiro Matsurra called the destruction a "…crime against culture. It is abominable to witness the cold and calculated destruction of cultural properties which were the heritage of the Afghan people, and, indeed, of the whole of humanity.

Commitment to rebuild
Though the figures of the two large Buddhas are almost completely destroyed, their outlines and some features are still recognizable within the recesses. It is also still possible for visitors to explore the monks’ caves and passages that connect them. As part of the international effort to rebuild Afghanistan after the Taliban war, the Government of Japan and several other organizations, among them the Afghanistan Institute in Bubendorf, Switzerland, along with the ETH in Zurich, have committed to rebuilding, perhaps by anastylosis, the two larger Buddhas.

Developments since 2002
In May 2002, a sculpture of the Buddha was carved out of a mountain in Sri Lanka. It was designed to closely resemble one of the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

The Afghan government has commissioned Japanese artist Hiro Yamagata to recreate the Bamiyan Buddhas using fourteen laser systems to project the images of the Buddhas onto the cliff where they once stood. The laser systems will be solar and wind-powered. The project, which will cost an estimated million, is currently pending UNESCO approval.

In September 2005, Mawlawi Mohammed Islam Mohammadi, Taliban governor of Bamiyan province at the time of the destruction and widely seen as responsible for its occurrence, was elected to the Afghan Parliament. On 26 January 2007, he was assassinated in Kabul.

Swiss filmmaker Christian Frei made a 95-minute documentary titled The Giant Buddhas (released in March 2006) on the statues, the international reactions to their destruction, and an overview of the controversy. Testimony by local Afghans validates that Osama Bin Laden ordered the destruction and that, initially, Mullah Omar and the Afghans in Bamiyan opposed it.[46]

Since 2002, international funding has supported recovery and stabilization efforts at the site. Fragments of the statues are documented and stored with special attention given to securing the structure of the statue still in place. It is hoped that, in the future, partial anastylosis can be conducted with the remaining fragments. In 2009, ICOMOS constructed scaffolding within the niche to further conservation and stabilization. Nonetheless, several serious conservation and safety issues exist and the Buddhas are still listed as World Heritage in Danger.

In the summer of 2006, Afghan officials were deciding on the timetable for the re-construction of the statues. As they wait for the Afghan government and international community to decide when to rebuild them, a .3 million UNESCO-funded project is sorting out the chunks of clay and plaster — ranging from boulders weighing several tons to fragments the size of tennis balls — and sheltering them from the elements.
The Buddhist remnants at Bamiyan were included on the 2008 World Monuments Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund.

Discoveries
After the destruction of the Buddhas, 50 caves were revealed. In 12 of the caves, wall paintings were discovered. In December 2004, an international team of researchers stated the wall paintings at Bamiyan were painted between the 5th and the 9th centuries, rather than the 6th to 8th centuries, citing their analysis of radioactive isotopes contained in straw fibers found beneath the paintings. It is believed that the paintings were done by artists travelling on the Silk Road, the trade route between China and the West.

Scientists from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Tokyo (Japan), the Centre of Research and Restoration of the French Museums-CNRS (France), the Getty Conservation Institute (United States) and the ESRF (the European Synchrotron radiation facility) in Grenoble analysed samples from the paintings, typically less than 1 mm across. They discovered that the paint contained pigments such as vermilion (red mercury sulfide) and lead white (lead carbonate). These were mixed with a range of binders, including natural resins, gums (possibly animal skin glue or egg) and oils, probably derived from walnuts or poppies. Specifically, researchers identified drying oils from murals showing Buddhas in vermilion robes sitting cross-legged amid palm leaves and mythical creatures as being painted in the middle of the 7th century. It is believed that they are the oldest known surviving examples of oil painting, possibly predating oil painting in Europe by as much as six centuries. The discovery may lead to a reassessment of works in ancient ruins in Iran, China, Pakistan, Turkey and India.

Initial suspicion that the oils might be attributable to contamination from fingers, as the touching of the painting is encouraged in Buddhist tradition, was dispelled by spectroscopy and chromatography giving an unambiguous signal for the intentional use of drying oils rather than contaminants. Oils were discovered underneath layers of paint, unlike surface contaminants.

Scientists also found the beginning section of the original Sanskrit Pratītyasamutpāda Sutra translated by Xuanzang that spelled out the basic belief of Buddhism and said all things are transient.

Another giant statue unearthed
On 8 September 2008 archeologists searching for a legendary 300-metre statue at the site of the already dynamited Buddhas announced the discovery of an unknown 19-metre (62-foot) reclining Buddha, a pose representing Buddha’s passage into nirvana.

Restoration
The UNESCO Expert Working Group on Afghan cultural projects convened to discuss what to do about the two statues between 3–4 March 2011 in Paris. Researcher Erwin Emmerling of Technical University Munich announced he believed it would be possible to restore the smaller statue using an organic silicon compound. The Paris conference issued a list of 39 recommendations for the safeguarding of the Bamiyan site. These included leaving the larger Western niche empty as a monument to the destruction of the Buddhas, a feasibility study into the rebuilding of the Eastern Buddha, and the construction of a central museum and several smaller site museums. Work has since begun on restoring the Buddhas using the process of anastylosis, where original elements are combined with modern material. It is estimated that roughly half the pieces of the Buddhas can be put back together according to Bert Praxenthaler, a German art historian and sculptor involved in the restoration. The restoration of the caves and Buddhas has also involved training and employing local people as stone carvers. The project, which also aims to encourage tourism to the area, is being organised by UNESCO and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). The work has come under some criticism. It is felt by some that the empty niches should be left as monuments to the fanaticism of the Taliban, while others believe the money could be better spent on housing and electricity for the region. Some point out tourism as a draw to rebuild the Buddhas which would aid the surrounding communities.

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Bamiyan Buddha site before Taliban destruction

Bamiyan Buddha site before Taliban destruction
Radioactive materials

Image by james_gordon_losangeles
The Buddhas of Bamiyan were two 6th century monumental statues of standing buddha carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan Valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, 230 km (140 mi) northwest of Kabul at an altitude of 2,500 meters (8,202 ft). Built in 507 CE, the larger in 554 CE, the statues represented the classic blended style of Gandhara art.

The main bodies were hewn directly from the sandstone cliffs, but details were modeled in mud mixed with straw, coated with stucco. This coating, practically all of which wore away long ago, was painted to enhance the expressions of the faces, hands and folds of the robes; the larger one was painted carmine red and the smaller one was painted multiple colors.

The lower parts of the statues’ arms were constructed from the same mud-straw mix while supported on wooden armatures. It is believed that the upper parts of their faces were made from great wooden masks or casts. Rows of holes that can be seen in photographs were spaces that held wooden pegs that stabilized the outer stucco.

The two Buddhas were dynamited and destroyed March 2001 by Taliban members on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were idols and therefore anti-islamic. International opinion strongly condemned the destruction of the Buddhas, which was viewed as an example of the intolerance of the Taliban. Japan and Switzerland, among others, have pledged support for the rebuilding of the statues.

Photojournalist David Adams filmed the Buddhas prior to their destruction for an episode of Journeys to the Ends of the Earth, a travel series for the Discovery Channel.

History
Bamiyan lies on the Silk Road, which runs through the Hindu Kush mountain region, in the Bamiyan Valley. The Silk Road has been historically a caravan route linking the markets of China with those of the Western world. It was the site of several Buddhist monasteries, and a thriving center for religion, philosophy, and art. Monks at the monasteries lived as hermits in small caves carved into the side of the Bamiyan cliffs. Most of these monks embellished their caves with religious statuary and elaborate, brightly colored frescoes and oil-based paintings. It was a Buddhist religious site from the 2nd century up to the time of the Islamic invasion in the later half of the 7th century. Until it was completely conquered by the Muslim Saffarids in the 9th century, Bamiyan shared the culture of Gandhara.

The two most prominent statues were the giant standing Buddhas Vairocana and Sakyamuni, identified by the different mudras performed. The Buddha popularly called "Solsol" measures 53 meters tall, and "Shahmama" 35 meters – the niches in which the figures stand are 58 and 38 meters from botom to top. Before being blown up in 2001 they were the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world (the 8th century Leshan Giant Buddha is taller, but the statue is sitting). Since then the Spring Temple Buddha has been built in China, and at 128 m (420 ft) it is the tallest statue in the world. Plans for the construction of the Spring Temple Buddha were announced soon after the blowing up of the Bamiyan Buddhas and China condemned the systematic destruction of the Buddhist heritage of Afghanistan.

The smaller of the statues was built between 544 and 595, the larger was built between 591 and 644. They are believed to have been built by the Kushans, with the guidance of local Buddhist monks, at the heyday of their empire. The larger figure was also said to portray Dīpankara Buddha. They were perhaps the most famous cultural landmarks of the region, and the site was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site along with the surrounding cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley. Their color faded through time.

Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang visited the site on 30 April 630 CE, and described Bamiyan in the Da Tang Xiyu Ji as a flourishing Buddhist center "with more than ten monasteries and more than a thousand monks". He also noted that both Buddha figures were "decorated with gold and fine jewels" (Wriggins, 1995). Intriguingly, Xuanzang mentions a third, even larger, reclining statue of the Buddha. A monumental seated Buddha, similar in style to those at Bamiyan, still exists in the Bingling Temple caves in China’s Gansu province.

The destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas became a symbol of oppression and a rallying point for the freedom of religious expression. Despite the fact that most Afghans are now Muslim, they too had embraced their past and many were appalled by the destruction.

Attacks on the Buddha’s statue 11th to the 20th century
In CE 1221 with the advent of Genghis Khan "a terrible disaster befell Bamiyan, nevertheless, the statues were spared. Later, the last Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, tried to use heavy artillery to destroy the statues. Another attempt to destroy the Bamiyan statues was made by the 18th century Persian king Nader Afshar, directing cannon fire at them.

The enormous statues, the male Salsal ("light shines through the universe") and the (smaller) female Shamama ("Queen Mother"), as they were called by the locals, did not fail to fire the imagination of Islamic writers in centuries past. The larger statue reappears as the malevolent giant Salsal in medieval Turkish tales.

Afghan king Abdur Rahman Khan destroyed its face during military campaign against Shia Hazara rebellion. A Frenchman named Dureau had pictured it in 1847.

Preface to 2001, under the Taliban
Abdul Wahed, a Taliban commander operating in the area, announced his intention to blow up the Buddhas in 1997 even before he had taken control of the valley. Once he was in control of Bamiyan in 1998, Wahed drilled holes in the Buddhas’ heads for explosives. He was prevented from taking further action by the local governor and direct order of Mullah Omar, although tyres were burnt on the head of the great Buddha. In July 1999, Mullah Mohammed Omar issued a decree in favor of the preservation of the Bamiyan Buddha statues. Because Afghanistan’s Buddhist population no longer exists, so the statues are no longer worshiped, he added: "The government considers the Bamiyan statues as an example of a potential major source of income for Afghanistan from international visitors. The Taliban states that Bamiyan shall not be destroyed but protected.In early 2000, local Taliban authorities asked for UN assistance to rebuild drainage ditches around tops of the alcoves where the Buddhas were set.

However, Afghanistan’s radical clerics began a campaign to crack down on "un-Islamic" segments of Afghan society. The Taliban soon banned all forms of imagery, music and sports, including television, in accordance with what they considered a strict interpretation of Sharia.

Information and Culture Minister Qadratullah Jamal told Associated Press of a decision by 400 religious clerics from across Afghanistan declaring the Buddhist statues against the tenets of Islam. "They came out with a consensus that the statues were against Islam," said Jamal.

According to UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, a meeting of ambassadors from the 54 member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) was conducted. All OIC states – including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, three countries that officially recognised the Taliban government – joined the protest to spare the monuments. Saudi Arabia and the UAE later condemned the destruction as "savage". Although India never recognised the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, New Delhi offered to arrange for the transfer of all the artifacts in question to India, "where they would be kept safely and preserved for all mankind." These overtures were rejected by the Taliban. Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf sent Moinuddin Haider to Kabul to try to prevent the destruction, by arguing that it was un-Islamic and unprecedented.[33] According to Taliban minister, Abdul Salam Zaeef, UNESCO sent the Taliban government 36 letters objecting to the proposed destruction. He asserted that the Chinese, Japanese and Sri Lankan delegates were the most strident advocates for preserving the Buddhas. The Japanese in particular proposed a variety of different solutions to the issue, these included moving the statues to Japan, covering the statues from view and the payment of money.

A statement issued by the ministry of religious affairs of Taliban regime justified the destruction as being in accordance with Islamic law. Abdul Salam Zaeef held that the destruction of the Buddhas was finally ordered by Abdul Wali, the Minister for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.

Dynamiting and destruction, March 2001 by the Taliban
The statues were destroyed by dynamite over several weeks, starting on 2 March 2001, carried out in stages. Initially, the statues were fired at for several days using anti-aircraft guns and artillery. This caused severe damage, but did not obliterate them. During the destruction, Taliban Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal lamented that, "this work of destruction is not as simple as people might think. You can’t knock down the statues by shelling as both are carved into a cliff; they are firmly attached to the mountain."[38] Later, the Taliban placed anti-tank mines at the bottom of the niches, so that when fragments of rock broke off from artillery fire, the statues would receive additional destruction from particles that set off the mines. In the end, the Taliban lowered men down the cliff face and placed explosives into holes in the Buddhas. After one of the explosions failed to completely obliterate the face of one of the Buddhas, a rocket was launched that left a hole in the remains of the stone head.

On 6 March 2001 The Times quoted Mullah Mohammed Omar as stating, "Muslims should be proud of smashing idols. It has given praise to God that we have destroyed them. During a 13 March interview for Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun, Afghan Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakel stated that the destruction was anything but a retaliation against the international community for economic sanctions: "We are destroying the statues in accordance with Islamic law and it is purely a religious issue.

On 18 March, The New York Times reported that a Taliban envoy said the Islamic government made its decision in a rage after a foreign delegation offered money to preserve the ancient works. The report also added, however, that other reports "have said the religious leaders were debating the move for months, and ultimately decided that the statues were idolatrous and should be obliterated.

Then Taliban -at-large Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi said that the destruction of the statues was carried out by the Head Council of Scholars after a Swedish monuments expert proposed to restore the statues’ heads. Hashimi is reported as saying: "When the Afghan head council asked them to provide the money to feed the children instead of fixing the statues, they refused and said, ‘No, the money is just for the statues, not for the children’. Herein, they made the decision to destroy the statues; however, he did not comment on the claim that a foreign museum offered to buy the Buddhist statues, the money from which could have been used to feed children.

The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas despite protests from the international community has been described by Michael Falser, a heritage expert at the Center for Transcultural Studies in Germany, as an attack by the Taliban against the globalising concept of "cultural heritage". The director general of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Koichiro Matsurra called the destruction a "…crime against culture. It is abominable to witness the cold and calculated destruction of cultural properties which were the heritage of the Afghan people, and, indeed, of the whole of humanity.

Commitment to rebuild
Though the figures of the two large Buddhas are almost completely destroyed, their outlines and some features are still recognizable within the recesses. It is also still possible for visitors to explore the monks’ caves and passages that connect them. As part of the international effort to rebuild Afghanistan after the Taliban war, the Government of Japan and several other organizations, among them the Afghanistan Institute in Bubendorf, Switzerland, along with the ETH in Zurich, have committed to rebuilding, perhaps by anastylosis, the two larger Buddhas.

Developments since 2002
In May 2002, a sculpture of the Buddha was carved out of a mountain in Sri Lanka. It was designed to closely resemble one of the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

The Afghan government has commissioned Japanese artist Hiro Yamagata to recreate the Bamiyan Buddhas using fourteen laser systems to project the images of the Buddhas onto the cliff where they once stood. The laser systems will be solar and wind-powered. The project, which will cost an estimated million, is currently pending UNESCO approval.

In September 2005, Mawlawi Mohammed Islam Mohammadi, Taliban governor of Bamiyan province at the time of the destruction and widely seen as responsible for its occurrence, was elected to the Afghan Parliament. On 26 January 2007, he was assassinated in Kabul.

Swiss filmmaker Christian Frei made a 95-minute documentary titled The Giant Buddhas (released in March 2006) on the statues, the international reactions to their destruction, and an overview of the controversy. Testimony by local Afghans validates that Osama Bin Laden ordered the destruction and that, initially, Mullah Omar and the Afghans in Bamiyan opposed it.[46]

Since 2002, international funding has supported recovery and stabilization efforts at the site. Fragments of the statues are documented and stored with special attention given to securing the structure of the statue still in place. It is hoped that, in the future, partial anastylosis can be conducted with the remaining fragments. In 2009, ICOMOS constructed scaffolding within the niche to further conservation and stabilization. Nonetheless, several serious conservation and safety issues exist and the Buddhas are still listed as World Heritage in Danger.

In the summer of 2006, Afghan officials were deciding on the timetable for the re-construction of the statues. As they wait for the Afghan government and international community to decide when to rebuild them, a .3 million UNESCO-funded project is sorting out the chunks of clay and plaster — ranging from boulders weighing several tons to fragments the size of tennis balls — and sheltering them from the elements.
The Buddhist remnants at Bamiyan were included on the 2008 World Monuments Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund.

Discoveries
After the destruction of the Buddhas, 50 caves were revealed. In 12 of the caves, wall paintings were discovered. In December 2004, an international team of researchers stated the wall paintings at Bamiyan were painted between the 5th and the 9th centuries, rather than the 6th to 8th centuries, citing their analysis of radioactive isotopes contained in straw fibers found beneath the paintings. It is believed that the paintings were done by artists travelling on the Silk Road, the trade route between China and the West.

Scientists from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Tokyo (Japan), the Centre of Research and Restoration of the French Museums-CNRS (France), the Getty Conservation Institute (United States) and the ESRF (the European Synchrotron radiation facility) in Grenoble analysed samples from the paintings, typically less than 1 mm across. They discovered that the paint contained pigments such as vermilion (red mercury sulfide) and lead white (lead carbonate). These were mixed with a range of binders, including natural resins, gums (possibly animal skin glue or egg) and oils, probably derived from walnuts or poppies. Specifically, researchers identified drying oils from murals showing Buddhas in vermilion robes sitting cross-legged amid palm leaves and mythical creatures as being painted in the middle of the 7th century. It is believed that they are the oldest known surviving examples of oil painting, possibly predating oil painting in Europe by as much as six centuries. The discovery may lead to a reassessment of works in ancient ruins in Iran, China, Pakistan, Turkey and India.

Initial suspicion that the oils might be attributable to contamination from fingers, as the touching of the painting is encouraged in Buddhist tradition, was dispelled by spectroscopy and chromatography giving an unambiguous signal for the intentional use of drying oils rather than contaminants. Oils were discovered underneath layers of paint, unlike surface contaminants.

Scientists also found the beginning section of the original Sanskrit Pratītyasamutpāda Sutra translated by Xuanzang that spelled out the basic belief of Buddhism and said all things are transient.

Another giant statue unearthed
On 8 September 2008 archeologists searching for a legendary 300-metre statue at the site of the already dynamited Buddhas announced the discovery of an unknown 19-metre (62-foot) reclining Buddha, a pose representing Buddha’s passage into nirvana.

Restoration
The UNESCO Expert Working Group on Afghan cultural projects convened to discuss what to do about the two statues between 3–4 March 2011 in Paris. Researcher Erwin Emmerling of Technical University Munich announced he believed it would be possible to restore the smaller statue using an organic silicon compound. The Paris conference issued a list of 39 recommendations for the safeguarding of the Bamiyan site. These included leaving the larger Western niche empty as a monument to the destruction of the Buddhas, a feasibility study into the rebuilding of the Eastern Buddha, and the construction of a central museum and several smaller site museums. Work has since begun on restoring the Buddhas using the process of anastylosis, where original elements are combined with modern material. It is estimated that roughly half the pieces of the Buddhas can be put back together according to Bert Praxenthaler, a German art historian and sculptor involved in the restoration. The restoration of the caves and Buddhas has also involved training and employing local people as stone carvers. The project, which also aims to encourage tourism to the area, is being organised by UNESCO and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). The work has come under some criticism. It is felt by some that the empty niches should be left as monuments to the fanaticism of the Taliban, while others believe the money could be better spent on housing and electricity for the region. Some point out tourism as a draw to rebuild the Buddhas which would aid the surrounding communities.

Protei hackathon in Hong Kong
Radioactive materials

Image by cesarharada.com
www.facebook.com/events/615138761892851/

1. Learn the basic of naval architecture
學習造船學的基本知識

2. Design and build your own sailing robot!
設計和製造屬於你自己的機械船

3. Sail it in the Kwun Tong Ferry pier waters !
在觀塘渡輪碼頭起航!

Come to learn, design and sail your own robot!
We will teach you the basics of maritime architecture, we help you design your own remote control boat, build and sail it in the water, all in one day!
我們會教你們造船學的基本知識,協助你們在一天內,設計,製造和起航屬於你們的機械船,請踴躍參加!

You need to get the ticket here so we could prepare all materials easily:

www.eventbrite.hk/e/build-and-sail-your-boat-in-one-day-p…

請在以上的網址索取門票表示參加,以便我們統計人數及預備材料。

The ocean cover more than 70% of our planets, they are where all life comes from and are the future of our food, energy, transport, communication and security. But the oceans are dying : Overfishing, acidification, plastic pollution, radioactive leaks, oil spills… We need better, more reliable and affordable sailing robots. We will also introduce you to Protei the Open Hardware Shape Shifting sailing robot and more.

海洋,有70% 的植物,是所有生物不可缺少的資源。它為我們提供食物,能源,交通,通訊和安全。但隨著我們地發展,各種的污染,包括:過度捕魚,酸化,塑膠污染,放射性物體洩漏和石油洩漏等,為海洋帶來了極大的污染……
我們需要更加有效,可靠和實惠的船隻去淨化海洋,所以我們會向你們介紹 Protei 的設計和創作理念 。

This workshop is open to beginners as well as experts of all ages.
歡迎任何人士參加

Instructors & Partners
Cesar HARADA : ex-MIT researcher , TED Senior fellow, Ocean roboticist, Guillaume DUPONT : Future Naval Architect, Mechanical Engineering, Agnes Kwanyuk KY CHAN : Product Design, Ricky LongMing SZETO : Product Design

Trinitite
Radioactive materials

Image by jtaylor14368
This material was produced by the first atomic bomb detonated on July 16, 1945, in the desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico. The intense heat from the blast caused the sand to melt into this greenish substance comprised of silica with traces of olivine and feldspar. Although trinitie is radioactive, the amount of harmful radiation emitted is negligible after decades of decay. This specimen weighs 8.1 grams and has a good surface to weight ratio. It is slightly larger than most pieces on the market today. Ex Schoolers.

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MOU Signing at ARC

MOU Signing at ARC
Radioactive materials

Image by Savannah River Site
An agreement signed in Aiken sets the stage for collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River National Laboratory and Nuclear Protection Products (NPP), a Norwegian manufacturer, on a possible next generation of radioactive material packaging systems for the world’s nuclear materials.

MOU Signing at ARC
Radioactive materials

Image by Savannah River Site
An agreement signed in Aiken sets the stage for collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River National Laboratory and Nuclear Protection Products (NPP), a Norwegian manufacturer, on a possible next generation of radioactive material packaging systems for the world’s nuclear materials.

Geonewts, Particle Accelerators and Boat Squats
Radioactive materials

Image by vornaskotti
During the first trip the world had just that "before a thunderstorm" vibe. The cache I was looking for was close to the local university particle accelerator and the department of meteorology. I didn’t have to wait for long for the thunderstorm to draw near.

So yeah, I was hanging around a particle accelerator in a thunderstorm, and nothing happened – not even the teeniest tiniest rip in the fabric of reality. This was just as disappointing as the time when I was hanging around in the storage room for radioactive materials in another particle accelerator lab, and I got a splinter on my finger – and nothing happened. I think I’ll have to change the strategy for getting superpowers…

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Destroyed Buddha, Bamiyan, Afghanistan

Destroyed Buddha, Bamiyan, Afghanistan
Radioactive materials

Image by james_gordon_losangeles
The Buddhas of Bamiyan were two 6th century monumental statues of standing buddha carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan Valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, 230 km (140 mi) northwest of Kabul at an altitude of 2,500 meters (8,202 ft). Built in 507 CE, the larger in 554 CE, the statues represented the classic blended style of Gandhara art.

The main bodies were hewn directly from the sandstone cliffs, but details were modeled in mud mixed with straw, coated with stucco. This coating, practically all of which wore away long ago, was painted to enhance the expressions of the faces, hands and folds of the robes; the larger one was painted carmine red and the smaller one was painted multiple colors.

The lower parts of the statues’ arms were constructed from the same mud-straw mix while supported on wooden armatures. It is believed that the upper parts of their faces were made from great wooden masks or casts. Rows of holes that can be seen in photographs were spaces that held wooden pegs that stabilized the outer stucco.

The two Buddhas were dynamited and destroyed March 2001 by Taliban members on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were idols and therefore anti-islamic. International opinion strongly condemned the destruction of the Buddhas, which was viewed as an example of the intolerance of the Taliban. Japan and Switzerland, among others, have pledged support for the rebuilding of the statues.

Photojournalist David Adams filmed the Buddhas prior to their destruction for an episode of Journeys to the Ends of the Earth, a travel series for the Discovery Channel.

History
Bamiyan lies on the Silk Road, which runs through the Hindu Kush mountain region, in the Bamiyan Valley. The Silk Road has been historically a caravan route linking the markets of China with those of the Western world. It was the site of several Buddhist monasteries, and a thriving center for religion, philosophy, and art. Monks at the monasteries lived as hermits in small caves carved into the side of the Bamiyan cliffs. Most of these monks embellished their caves with religious statuary and elaborate, brightly colored frescoes and oil-based paintings. It was a Buddhist religious site from the 2nd century up to the time of the Islamic invasion in the later half of the 7th century. Until it was completely conquered by the Muslim Saffarids in the 9th century, Bamiyan shared the culture of Gandhara.

The two most prominent statues were the giant standing Buddhas Vairocana and Sakyamuni, identified by the different mudras performed. The Buddha popularly called "Solsol" measures 53 meters tall, and "Shahmama" 35 meters – the niches in which the figures stand are 58 and 38 meters from botom to top. Before being blown up in 2001 they were the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world (the 8th century Leshan Giant Buddha is taller, but the statue is sitting). Since then the Spring Temple Buddha has been built in China, and at 128 m (420 ft) it is the tallest statue in the world. Plans for the construction of the Spring Temple Buddha were announced soon after the blowing up of the Bamiyan Buddhas and China condemned the systematic destruction of the Buddhist heritage of Afghanistan.

The smaller of the statues was built between 544 and 595, the larger was built between 591 and 644. They are believed to have been built by the Kushans, with the guidance of local Buddhist monks, at the heyday of their empire. The larger figure was also said to portray Dīpankara Buddha. They were perhaps the most famous cultural landmarks of the region, and the site was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site along with the surrounding cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley. Their color faded through time.

Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang visited the site on 30 April 630 CE, and described Bamiyan in the Da Tang Xiyu Ji as a flourishing Buddhist center "with more than ten monasteries and more than a thousand monks". He also noted that both Buddha figures were "decorated with gold and fine jewels" (Wriggins, 1995). Intriguingly, Xuanzang mentions a third, even larger, reclining statue of the Buddha. A monumental seated Buddha, similar in style to those at Bamiyan, still exists in the Bingling Temple caves in China’s Gansu province.

The destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas became a symbol of oppression and a rallying point for the freedom of religious expression. Despite the fact that most Afghans are now Muslim, they too had embraced their past and many were appalled by the destruction.

Attacks on the Buddha’s statue 11th to the 20th century
In CE 1221 with the advent of Genghis Khan "a terrible disaster befell Bamiyan, nevertheless, the statues were spared. Later, the last Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, tried to use heavy artillery to destroy the statues. Another attempt to destroy the Bamiyan statues was made by the 18th century Persian king Nader Afshar, directing cannon fire at them.

The enormous statues, the male Salsal ("light shines through the universe") and the (smaller) female Shamama ("Queen Mother"), as they were called by the locals, did not fail to fire the imagination of Islamic writers in centuries past. The larger statue reappears as the malevolent giant Salsal in medieval Turkish tales.

Afghan king Abdur Rahman Khan destroyed its face during military campaign against Shia Hazara rebellion. A Frenchman named Dureau had pictured it in 1847.

Preface to 2001, under the Taliban
Abdul Wahed, a Taliban commander operating in the area, announced his intention to blow up the Buddhas in 1997 even before he had taken control of the valley. Once he was in control of Bamiyan in 1998, Wahed drilled holes in the Buddhas’ heads for explosives. He was prevented from taking further action by the local governor and direct order of Mullah Omar, although tyres were burnt on the head of the great Buddha. In July 1999, Mullah Mohammed Omar issued a decree in favor of the preservation of the Bamiyan Buddha statues. Because Afghanistan’s Buddhist population no longer exists, so the statues are no longer worshiped, he added: "The government considers the Bamiyan statues as an example of a potential major source of income for Afghanistan from international visitors. The Taliban states that Bamiyan shall not be destroyed but protected.In early 2000, local Taliban authorities asked for UN assistance to rebuild drainage ditches around tops of the alcoves where the Buddhas were set.

However, Afghanistan’s radical clerics began a campaign to crack down on "un-Islamic" segments of Afghan society. The Taliban soon banned all forms of imagery, music and sports, including television, in accordance with what they considered a strict interpretation of Sharia.

Information and Culture Minister Qadratullah Jamal told Associated Press of a decision by 400 religious clerics from across Afghanistan declaring the Buddhist statues against the tenets of Islam. "They came out with a consensus that the statues were against Islam," said Jamal.

According to UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, a meeting of ambassadors from the 54 member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) was conducted. All OIC states – including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, three countries that officially recognised the Taliban government – joined the protest to spare the monuments. Saudi Arabia and the UAE later condemned the destruction as "savage". Although India never recognised the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, New Delhi offered to arrange for the transfer of all the artifacts in question to India, "where they would be kept safely and preserved for all mankind." These overtures were rejected by the Taliban. Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf sent Moinuddin Haider to Kabul to try to prevent the destruction, by arguing that it was un-Islamic and unprecedented.[33] According to Taliban minister, Abdul Salam Zaeef, UNESCO sent the Taliban government 36 letters objecting to the proposed destruction. He asserted that the Chinese, Japanese and Sri Lankan delegates were the most strident advocates for preserving the Buddhas. The Japanese in particular proposed a variety of different solutions to the issue, these included moving the statues to Japan, covering the statues from view and the payment of money.

A statement issued by the ministry of religious affairs of Taliban regime justified the destruction as being in accordance with Islamic law. Abdul Salam Zaeef held that the destruction of the Buddhas was finally ordered by Abdul Wali, the Minister for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.

Dynamiting and destruction, March 2001 by the Taliban
The statues were destroyed by dynamite over several weeks, starting on 2 March 2001, carried out in stages. Initially, the statues were fired at for several days using anti-aircraft guns and artillery. This caused severe damage, but did not obliterate them. During the destruction, Taliban Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal lamented that, "this work of destruction is not as simple as people might think. You can’t knock down the statues by shelling as both are carved into a cliff; they are firmly attached to the mountain."[38] Later, the Taliban placed anti-tank mines at the bottom of the niches, so that when fragments of rock broke off from artillery fire, the statues would receive additional destruction from particles that set off the mines. In the end, the Taliban lowered men down the cliff face and placed explosives into holes in the Buddhas. After one of the explosions failed to completely obliterate the face of one of the Buddhas, a rocket was launched that left a hole in the remains of the stone head.

On 6 March 2001 The Times quoted Mullah Mohammed Omar as stating, "Muslims should be proud of smashing idols. It has given praise to God that we have destroyed them. During a 13 March interview for Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun, Afghan Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakel stated that the destruction was anything but a retaliation against the international community for economic sanctions: "We are destroying the statues in accordance with Islamic law and it is purely a religious issue.

On 18 March, The New York Times reported that a Taliban envoy said the Islamic government made its decision in a rage after a foreign delegation offered money to preserve the ancient works. The report also added, however, that other reports "have said the religious leaders were debating the move for months, and ultimately decided that the statues were idolatrous and should be obliterated.

Then Taliban -at-large Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi said that the destruction of the statues was carried out by the Head Council of Scholars after a Swedish monuments expert proposed to restore the statues’ heads. Hashimi is reported as saying: "When the Afghan head council asked them to provide the money to feed the children instead of fixing the statues, they refused and said, ‘No, the money is just for the statues, not for the children’. Herein, they made the decision to destroy the statues; however, he did not comment on the claim that a foreign museum offered to buy the Buddhist statues, the money from which could have been used to feed children.

The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas despite protests from the international community has been described by Michael Falser, a heritage expert at the Center for Transcultural Studies in Germany, as an attack by the Taliban against the globalising concept of "cultural heritage". The director general of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Koichiro Matsurra called the destruction a "…crime against culture. It is abominable to witness the cold and calculated destruction of cultural properties which were the heritage of the Afghan people, and, indeed, of the whole of humanity.

Commitment to rebuild
Though the figures of the two large Buddhas are almost completely destroyed, their outlines and some features are still recognizable within the recesses. It is also still possible for visitors to explore the monks’ caves and passages that connect them. As part of the international effort to rebuild Afghanistan after the Taliban war, the Government of Japan and several other organizations, among them the Afghanistan Institute in Bubendorf, Switzerland, along with the ETH in Zurich, have committed to rebuilding, perhaps by anastylosis, the two larger Buddhas.

Developments since 2002
In May 2002, a sculpture of the Buddha was carved out of a mountain in Sri Lanka. It was designed to closely resemble one of the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

The Afghan government has commissioned Japanese artist Hiro Yamagata to recreate the Bamiyan Buddhas using fourteen laser systems to project the images of the Buddhas onto the cliff where they once stood. The laser systems will be solar and wind-powered. The project, which will cost an estimated million, is currently pending UNESCO approval.

In September 2005, Mawlawi Mohammed Islam Mohammadi, Taliban governor of Bamiyan province at the time of the destruction and widely seen as responsible for its occurrence, was elected to the Afghan Parliament. On 26 January 2007, he was assassinated in Kabul.

Swiss filmmaker Christian Frei made a 95-minute documentary titled The Giant Buddhas (released in March 2006) on the statues, the international reactions to their destruction, and an overview of the controversy. Testimony by local Afghans validates that Osama Bin Laden ordered the destruction and that, initially, Mullah Omar and the Afghans in Bamiyan opposed it.[46]

Since 2002, international funding has supported recovery and stabilization efforts at the site. Fragments of the statues are documented and stored with special attention given to securing the structure of the statue still in place. It is hoped that, in the future, partial anastylosis can be conducted with the remaining fragments. In 2009, ICOMOS constructed scaffolding within the niche to further conservation and stabilization. Nonetheless, several serious conservation and safety issues exist and the Buddhas are still listed as World Heritage in Danger.

In the summer of 2006, Afghan officials were deciding on the timetable for the re-construction of the statues. As they wait for the Afghan government and international community to decide when to rebuild them, a .3 million UNESCO-funded project is sorting out the chunks of clay and plaster — ranging from boulders weighing several tons to fragments the size of tennis balls — and sheltering them from the elements.
The Buddhist remnants at Bamiyan were included on the 2008 World Monuments Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund.

Discoveries
After the destruction of the Buddhas, 50 caves were revealed. In 12 of the caves, wall paintings were discovered. In December 2004, an international team of researchers stated the wall paintings at Bamiyan were painted between the 5th and the 9th centuries, rather than the 6th to 8th centuries, citing their analysis of radioactive isotopes contained in straw fibers found beneath the paintings. It is believed that the paintings were done by artists travelling on the Silk Road, the trade route between China and the West.

Scientists from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Tokyo (Japan), the Centre of Research and Restoration of the French Museums-CNRS (France), the Getty Conservation Institute (United States) and the ESRF (the European Synchrotron radiation facility) in Grenoble analysed samples from the paintings, typically less than 1 mm across. They discovered that the paint contained pigments such as vermilion (red mercury sulfide) and lead white (lead carbonate). These were mixed with a range of binders, including natural resins, gums (possibly animal skin glue or egg) and oils, probably derived from walnuts or poppies. Specifically, researchers identified drying oils from murals showing Buddhas in vermilion robes sitting cross-legged amid palm leaves and mythical creatures as being painted in the middle of the 7th century. It is believed that they are the oldest known surviving examples of oil painting, possibly predating oil painting in Europe by as much as six centuries. The discovery may lead to a reassessment of works in ancient ruins in Iran, China, Pakistan, Turkey and India.

Initial suspicion that the oils might be attributable to contamination from fingers, as the touching of the painting is encouraged in Buddhist tradition, was dispelled by spectroscopy and chromatography giving an unambiguous signal for the intentional use of drying oils rather than contaminants. Oils were discovered underneath layers of paint, unlike surface contaminants.

Scientists also found the beginning section of the original Sanskrit Pratītyasamutpāda Sutra translated by Xuanzang that spelled out the basic belief of Buddhism and said all things are transient.

Another giant statue unearthed
On 8 September 2008 archeologists searching for a legendary 300-metre statue at the site of the already dynamited Buddhas announced the discovery of an unknown 19-metre (62-foot) reclining Buddha, a pose representing Buddha’s passage into nirvana.

Restoration
The UNESCO Expert Working Group on Afghan cultural projects convened to discuss what to do about the two statues between 3–4 March 2011 in Paris. Researcher Erwin Emmerling of Technical University Munich announced he believed it would be possible to restore the smaller statue using an organic silicon compound. The Paris conference issued a list of 39 recommendations for the safeguarding of the Bamiyan site. These included leaving the larger Western niche empty as a monument to the destruction of the Buddhas, a feasibility study into the rebuilding of the Eastern Buddha, and the construction of a central museum and several smaller site museums. Work has since begun on restoring the Buddhas using the process of anastylosis, where original elements are combined with modern material. It is estimated that roughly half the pieces of the Buddhas can be put back together according to Bert Praxenthaler, a German art historian and sculptor involved in the restoration. The restoration of the caves and Buddhas has also involved training and employing local people as stone carvers. The project, which also aims to encourage tourism to the area, is being organised by UNESCO and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). The work has come under some criticism. It is felt by some that the empty niches should be left as monuments to the fanaticism of the Taliban, while others believe the money could be better spent on housing and electricity for the region. Some point out tourism as a draw to rebuild the Buddhas which would aid the surrounding communities.

Buddha site before Taliban destruction, Bamiyan Valley, Afghanistan
Radioactive materials

Image by james_gordon_losangeles
The Buddhas of Bamiyan were two 6th century monumental statues of standing buddha carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan Valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, 230 km (140 mi) northwest of Kabul at an altitude of 2,500 meters (8,202 ft). Built in 507 CE, the larger in 554 CE, the statues represented the classic blended style of Gandhara art.

The main bodies were hewn directly from the sandstone cliffs, but details were modeled in mud mixed with straw, coated with stucco. This coating, practically all of which wore away long ago, was painted to enhance the expressions of the faces, hands and folds of the robes; the larger one was painted carmine red and the smaller one was painted multiple colors.

The lower parts of the statues’ arms were constructed from the same mud-straw mix while supported on wooden armatures. It is believed that the upper parts of their faces were made from great wooden masks or casts. Rows of holes that can be seen in photographs were spaces that held wooden pegs that stabilized the outer stucco.

The two Buddhas were dynamited and destroyed March 2001 by Taliban members on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were idols and therefore anti-islamic. International opinion strongly condemned the destruction of the Buddhas, which was viewed as an example of the intolerance of the Taliban. Japan and Switzerland, among others, have pledged support for the rebuilding of the statues.

Photojournalist David Adams filmed the Buddhas prior to their destruction for an episode of Journeys to the Ends of the Earth, a travel series for the Discovery Channel.

History
Bamiyan lies on the Silk Road, which runs through the Hindu Kush mountain region, in the Bamiyan Valley. The Silk Road has been historically a caravan route linking the markets of China with those of the Western world. It was the site of several Buddhist monasteries, and a thriving center for religion, philosophy, and art. Monks at the monasteries lived as hermits in small caves carved into the side of the Bamiyan cliffs. Most of these monks embellished their caves with religious statuary and elaborate, brightly colored frescoes and oil-based paintings. It was a Buddhist religious site from the 2nd century up to the time of the Islamic invasion in the later half of the 7th century. Until it was completely conquered by the Muslim Saffarids in the 9th century, Bamiyan shared the culture of Gandhara.

The two most prominent statues were the giant standing Buddhas Vairocana and Sakyamuni, identified by the different mudras performed. The Buddha popularly called "Solsol" measures 53 meters tall, and "Shahmama" 35 meters – the niches in which the figures stand are 58 and 38 meters from botom to top. Before being blown up in 2001 they were the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world (the 8th century Leshan Giant Buddha is taller, but the statue is sitting). Since then the Spring Temple Buddha has been built in China, and at 128 m (420 ft) it is the tallest statue in the world. Plans for the construction of the Spring Temple Buddha were announced soon after the blowing up of the Bamiyan Buddhas and China condemned the systematic destruction of the Buddhist heritage of Afghanistan.

The smaller of the statues was built between 544 and 595, the larger was built between 591 and 644. They are believed to have been built by the Kushans, with the guidance of local Buddhist monks, at the heyday of their empire. The larger figure was also said to portray Dīpankara Buddha. They were perhaps the most famous cultural landmarks of the region, and the site was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site along with the surrounding cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley. Their color faded through time.

Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang visited the site on 30 April 630 CE, and described Bamiyan in the Da Tang Xiyu Ji as a flourishing Buddhist center "with more than ten monasteries and more than a thousand monks". He also noted that both Buddha figures were "decorated with gold and fine jewels" (Wriggins, 1995). Intriguingly, Xuanzang mentions a third, even larger, reclining statue of the Buddha. A monumental seated Buddha, similar in style to those at Bamiyan, still exists in the Bingling Temple caves in China’s Gansu province.

The destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas became a symbol of oppression and a rallying point for the freedom of religious expression. Despite the fact that most Afghans are now Muslim, they too had embraced their past and many were appalled by the destruction.

Attacks on the Buddha’s statue 11th to the 20th century
In CE 1221 with the advent of Genghis Khan "a terrible disaster befell Bamiyan, nevertheless, the statues were spared. Later, the last Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, tried to use heavy artillery to destroy the statues. Another attempt to destroy the Bamiyan statues was made by the 18th century Persian king Nader Afshar, directing cannon fire at them.

The enormous statues, the male Salsal ("light shines through the universe") and the (smaller) female Shamama ("Queen Mother"), as they were called by the locals, did not fail to fire the imagination of Islamic writers in centuries past. The larger statue reappears as the malevolent giant Salsal in medieval Turkish tales.

Afghan king Abdur Rahman Khan destroyed its face during military campaign against Shia Hazara rebellion. A Frenchman named Dureau had pictured it in 1847.

Preface to 2001, under the Taliban
Abdul Wahed, a Taliban commander operating in the area, announced his intention to blow up the Buddhas in 1997 even before he had taken control of the valley. Once he was in control of Bamiyan in 1998, Wahed drilled holes in the Buddhas’ heads for explosives. He was prevented from taking further action by the local governor and direct order of Mullah Omar, although tyres were burnt on the head of the great Buddha. In July 1999, Mullah Mohammed Omar issued a decree in favor of the preservation of the Bamiyan Buddha statues. Because Afghanistan’s Buddhist population no longer exists, so the statues are no longer worshiped, he added: "The government considers the Bamiyan statues as an example of a potential major source of income for Afghanistan from international visitors. The Taliban states that Bamiyan shall not be destroyed but protected.In early 2000, local Taliban authorities asked for UN assistance to rebuild drainage ditches around tops of the alcoves where the Buddhas were set.

However, Afghanistan’s radical clerics began a campaign to crack down on "un-Islamic" segments of Afghan society. The Taliban soon banned all forms of imagery, music and sports, including television, in accordance with what they considered a strict interpretation of Sharia.

Information and Culture Minister Qadratullah Jamal told Associated Press of a decision by 400 religious clerics from across Afghanistan declaring the Buddhist statues against the tenets of Islam. "They came out with a consensus that the statues were against Islam," said Jamal.

According to UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, a meeting of ambassadors from the 54 member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) was conducted. All OIC states – including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, three countries that officially recognised the Taliban government – joined the protest to spare the monuments. Saudi Arabia and the UAE later condemned the destruction as "savage". Although India never recognised the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, New Delhi offered to arrange for the transfer of all the artifacts in question to India, "where they would be kept safely and preserved for all mankind." These overtures were rejected by the Taliban. Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf sent Moinuddin Haider to Kabul to try to prevent the destruction, by arguing that it was un-Islamic and unprecedented.[33] According to Taliban minister, Abdul Salam Zaeef, UNESCO sent the Taliban government 36 letters objecting to the proposed destruction. He asserted that the Chinese, Japanese and Sri Lankan delegates were the most strident advocates for preserving the Buddhas. The Japanese in particular proposed a variety of different solutions to the issue, these included moving the statues to Japan, covering the statues from view and the payment of money.

A statement issued by the ministry of religious affairs of Taliban regime justified the destruction as being in accordance with Islamic law. Abdul Salam Zaeef held that the destruction of the Buddhas was finally ordered by Abdul Wali, the Minister for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.

Dynamiting and destruction, March 2001 by the Taliban
The statues were destroyed by dynamite over several weeks, starting on 2 March 2001, carried out in stages. Initially, the statues were fired at for several days using anti-aircraft guns and artillery. This caused severe damage, but did not obliterate them. During the destruction, Taliban Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal lamented that, "this work of destruction is not as simple as people might think. You can’t knock down the statues by shelling as both are carved into a cliff; they are firmly attached to the mountain."[38] Later, the Taliban placed anti-tank mines at the bottom of the niches, so that when fragments of rock broke off from artillery fire, the statues would receive additional destruction from particles that set off the mines. In the end, the Taliban lowered men down the cliff face and placed explosives into holes in the Buddhas. After one of the explosions failed to completely obliterate the face of one of the Buddhas, a rocket was launched that left a hole in the remains of the stone head.

On 6 March 2001 The Times quoted Mullah Mohammed Omar as stating, "Muslims should be proud of smashing idols. It has given praise to God that we have destroyed them. During a 13 March interview for Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun, Afghan Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakel stated that the destruction was anything but a retaliation against the international community for economic sanctions: "We are destroying the statues in accordance with Islamic law and it is purely a religious issue.

On 18 March, The New York Times reported that a Taliban envoy said the Islamic government made its decision in a rage after a foreign delegation offered money to preserve the ancient works. The report also added, however, that other reports "have said the religious leaders were debating the move for months, and ultimately decided that the statues were idolatrous and should be obliterated.

Then Taliban -at-large Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi said that the destruction of the statues was carried out by the Head Council of Scholars after a Swedish monuments expert proposed to restore the statues’ heads. Hashimi is reported as saying: "When the Afghan head council asked them to provide the money to feed the children instead of fixing the statues, they refused and said, ‘No, the money is just for the statues, not for the children’. Herein, they made the decision to destroy the statues; however, he did not comment on the claim that a foreign museum offered to buy the Buddhist statues, the money from which could have been used to feed children.

The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas despite protests from the international community has been described by Michael Falser, a heritage expert at the Center for Transcultural Studies in Germany, as an attack by the Taliban against the globalising concept of "cultural heritage". The director general of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Koichiro Matsurra called the destruction a "…crime against culture. It is abominable to witness the cold and calculated destruction of cultural properties which were the heritage of the Afghan people, and, indeed, of the whole of humanity.

Commitment to rebuild
Though the figures of the two large Buddhas are almost completely destroyed, their outlines and some features are still recognizable within the recesses. It is also still possible for visitors to explore the monks’ caves and passages that connect them. As part of the international effort to rebuild Afghanistan after the Taliban war, the Government of Japan and several other organizations, among them the Afghanistan Institute in Bubendorf, Switzerland, along with the ETH in Zurich, have committed to rebuilding, perhaps by anastylosis, the two larger Buddhas.

Developments since 2002
In May 2002, a sculpture of the Buddha was carved out of a mountain in Sri Lanka. It was designed to closely resemble one of the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

The Afghan government has commissioned Japanese artist Hiro Yamagata to recreate the Bamiyan Buddhas using fourteen laser systems to project the images of the Buddhas onto the cliff where they once stood. The laser systems will be solar and wind-powered. The project, which will cost an estimated million, is currently pending UNESCO approval.

In September 2005, Mawlawi Mohammed Islam Mohammadi, Taliban governor of Bamiyan province at the time of the destruction and widely seen as responsible for its occurrence, was elected to the Afghan Parliament. On 26 January 2007, he was assassinated in Kabul.

Swiss filmmaker Christian Frei made a 95-minute documentary titled The Giant Buddhas (released in March 2006) on the statues, the international reactions to their destruction, and an overview of the controversy. Testimony by local Afghans validates that Osama Bin Laden ordered the destruction and that, initially, Mullah Omar and the Afghans in Bamiyan opposed it.[46]

Since 2002, international funding has supported recovery and stabilization efforts at the site. Fragments of the statues are documented and stored with special attention given to securing the structure of the statue still in place. It is hoped that, in the future, partial anastylosis can be conducted with the remaining fragments. In 2009, ICOMOS constructed scaffolding within the niche to further conservation and stabilization. Nonetheless, several serious conservation and safety issues exist and the Buddhas are still listed as World Heritage in Danger.

In the summer of 2006, Afghan officials were deciding on the timetable for the re-construction of the statues. As they wait for the Afghan government and international community to decide when to rebuild them, a .3 million UNESCO-funded project is sorting out the chunks of clay and plaster — ranging from boulders weighing several tons to fragments the size of tennis balls — and sheltering them from the elements.
The Buddhist remnants at Bamiyan were included on the 2008 World Monuments Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund.

Discoveries
After the destruction of the Buddhas, 50 caves were revealed. In 12 of the caves, wall paintings were discovered. In December 2004, an international team of researchers stated the wall paintings at Bamiyan were painted between the 5th and the 9th centuries, rather than the 6th to 8th centuries, citing their analysis of radioactive isotopes contained in straw fibers found beneath the paintings. It is believed that the paintings were done by artists travelling on the Silk Road, the trade route between China and the West.

Scientists from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Tokyo (Japan), the Centre of Research and Restoration of the French Museums-CNRS (France), the Getty Conservation Institute (United States) and the ESRF (the European Synchrotron radiation facility) in Grenoble analysed samples from the paintings, typically less than 1 mm across. They discovered that the paint contained pigments such as vermilion (red mercury sulfide) and lead white (lead carbonate). These were mixed with a range of binders, including natural resins, gums (possibly animal skin glue or egg) and oils, probably derived from walnuts or poppies. Specifically, researchers identified drying oils from murals showing Buddhas in vermilion robes sitting cross-legged amid palm leaves and mythical creatures as being painted in the middle of the 7th century. It is believed that they are the oldest known surviving examples of oil painting, possibly predating oil painting in Europe by as much as six centuries. The discovery may lead to a reassessment of works in ancient ruins in Iran, China, Pakistan, Turkey and India.

Initial suspicion that the oils might be attributable to contamination from fingers, as the touching of the painting is encouraged in Buddhist tradition, was dispelled by spectroscopy and chromatography giving an unambiguous signal for the intentional use of drying oils rather than contaminants. Oils were discovered underneath layers of paint, unlike surface contaminants.

Scientists also found the beginning section of the original Sanskrit Pratītyasamutpāda Sutra translated by Xuanzang that spelled out the basic belief of Buddhism and said all things are transient.

Another giant statue unearthed
On 8 September 2008 archeologists searching for a legendary 300-metre statue at the site of the already dynamited Buddhas announced the discovery of an unknown 19-metre (62-foot) reclining Buddha, a pose representing Buddha’s passage into nirvana.

Restoration
The UNESCO Expert Working Group on Afghan cultural projects convened to discuss what to do about the two statues between 3–4 March 2011 in Paris. Researcher Erwin Emmerling of Technical University Munich announced he believed it would be possible to restore the smaller statue using an organic silicon compound. The Paris conference issued a list of 39 recommendations for the safeguarding of the Bamiyan site. These included leaving the larger Western niche empty as a monument to the destruction of the Buddhas, a feasibility study into the rebuilding of the Eastern Buddha, and the construction of a central museum and several smaller site museums. Work has since begun on restoring the Buddhas using the process of anastylosis, where original elements are combined with modern material. It is estimated that roughly half the pieces of the Buddhas can be put back together according to Bert Praxenthaler, a German art historian and sculptor involved in the restoration. The restoration of the caves and Buddhas has also involved training and employing local people as stone carvers. The project, which also aims to encourage tourism to the area, is being organised by UNESCO and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). The work has come under some criticism. It is felt by some that the empty niches should be left as monuments to the fanaticism of the Taliban, while others believe the money could be better spent on housing and electricity for the region. Some point out tourism as a draw to rebuild the Buddhas which would aid the surrounding communities.

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USACE Savannah District – Geotechnical & HTRW Capabilities

USACE Savannah District – Geotechnical & HTRW Capabilities
Radioactive materials

Image by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District has an in-house Geotechnical and HTRW (Hazardous, toxic and radioactive waste) team with full serivce capabilities. Savannah’s team has the most diverse fleet of investigative vehicles and equipment throughout the Corps of Engineers. The fleet includes geoprobes and drilling rigs, which can investigate a wide range of eathen materials, including soils and rock. Using this equipment, the team performs a variety of subsurface investigations, including well installation, determination of soil characteristics, contaminant characterization, aquifer testing, rock coring, and much more.

USACE Savannah District – Geotechnical & HTRW Capabilities
Radioactive materials

Image by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District has an in-house Geotechnical and HTRW (Hazardous, toxic and radioactive waste) team with full serivce capabilities. Savannah’s team has the most diverse fleet of investigative vehicles and equipment throughout the Corps of Engineers. The fleet includes geoprobes and drilling rigs, which can investigate a wide range of eathen materials, including soils and rock. Using this equipment, the team performs a variety of subsurface investigations, including well installation, determination of soil characteristics, contaminant characterization, aquifer testing, rock coring, and much more.

USACE Savannah District – Geotechnical & HTRW Capabilities
Radioactive materials

Image by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District has an in-house Geotechnical and HTRW (Hazardous, toxic and radioactive waste) team with full serivce capabilities. Savannah’s team has the most diverse fleet of investigative vehicles and equipment throughout the Corps of Engineers. The fleet includes geoprobes and drilling rigs, which can investigate a wide range of eathen materials, including soils and rock. Using this equipment, the team performs a variety of subsurface investigations, including well installation, determination of soil characteristics, contaminant characterization, aquifer testing, rock coring, and much more.

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“Alpha”-Bison “BEROLINA”♀ ♦granite♦artefact♦

“Alpha”-Bison “BEROLINA”♀ ♦granite♦artefact♦
Radioactive materials

Image by quapan
Move your mouse over the above scan to see the 5 notes!

The scan of this side of the granite artefact shows the silhouette of a bison bowing his head to march straightforwardly. Obviously not for fighting with another one – as everybody would like to believe – but for pulling – as a domesticated draught bison cow harnessed and subdued under a yoke – heavy loads like stones, carts and trolleys.

The other side of this artifact is still not available. It is showing the silhouette of a bison slightly turning his head into the direction of the spectator. The Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Musee des Antiquites nationales has a head turning around bison made of reindeer antler. For 57$ you can buy an artificial copy made of stone-filled polymer.

This granite has a pestle at the headside and a mortar at the tailside, I discovered on September 8th 2007. It is a bifacial. It is a pestle with a mortar-tail: “… les hommes préhistoriques ont affiché leur corps et leur sexualité de façon à la fois explicite, concrète, avec des images matérielles, mais également de façon très dissimulée, très partiellement affichée,…” (L’unité psycho-anthropologique de Sapiens – Par Denis Vialou )

The shape of the tool reminded me of the good old-fashioned (paleolithic), bifacial flint hand axes but could not have taken the function of such a tool because it did not have any sharp edges.

At the rear end of the stone there is a round deepening. A very similar kind of a hollow I saw upon an Abbevillean (250,000 to 700,000 years B.P.) stone offered as a pebble chopper for $ 155.00.

Alpha-Harness of the bison
The harness looks like an Alpha turned upside down ! Does this symbolize that this buffalo is a representative one? The horizontal line of this letter is engraved 1 mm deep. Was the draught-bison often violated by the right shaft of the harness because he had to pull heavy loads?
Alpha (ℵ=Aleph= glyph for a bull-head): Caananite, Aramaic, Phoenician, Hebrew, Etruscan and Hellenic.
Aleph means head, especially the head of the bull, taurus.
The sexual connection of writing and {plowing / furrowing} has been mentioned by Vilem Flusser. Kallir (31) also refers to the double meaning of ‘husbandry’ in English, as for example in this Shakespeare’s sonnet: For where is she so fair whose unear’d womb / Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?
"The taming of the bull is the great achievement of the developing agricultural civilization and, like the invention of the alphabet, a milestone in the progress of man". (Kallir 39). The Egyptian hieroglyph of plough has a striking similarity to the Semitic aleph sign (Kallir 31).

The colours of the image are of course not very true: At first I struggled with the right scanner illumination and then with Photoshop to reproduce a correct silhouette.
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On September 16th 2007 I revisited my stone collection, and discovered a granite that I had taken home a few month ago and that I had suspected to be a pestle, too. It is a granite frog sitting on his rectangular mortar area (4 x 3,5 cm). It is a bifacial pestle made by the same stoneage sculptor: Colour and texture, length and width are exactly the same; height is exactly the same:
Size of the frog
Length ~ 12 cm, Width ~ 6 cm, Height ~ 4 cm.
Size of the bison
length ~ 13 cm
width ~ 4 cm
height ~ 8 cm
These dimensions could serve as a draft for a very special computer-mouse-design?
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Questions
Shows this backside of a granite the tails of a stoneage coin?
Confer the english phrase: Heads or tails?
Stones marked with such a hollow deepening anywhere functioned as money-piece or just signify a female animal?
Could this stone have had ritual and representative significance? A kind of cattle-money (lt. pecunia) ?
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▐► GRANITE ◄▌

Granite Granite (IPA: /ˈɡrænɪt/) is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granites are usually medium to coarsely crystalline, occasionally with some individual crystals larger than the groundmass forming a rock known as porphyry. Granites can be pink to dark gray or even black, depending on their chemistry and mineralogy. Outcrops of granite tend to form tors, and rounded massifs. Granites sometimes occur in circular depressions surrounded by a range of hills, formed by the metamorphic aureole or hornfels.
Granite is nearly always massive, hard and tough, and it is for this reason it has gained widespread use as a construction stone. The average density of granite is 2.75 g·cm−3 with a range of 1.74 g·cm−3 to 2.80 g·cm−3. The word granite comes from the Latin granum, a grain, in reference to the coarse-grained structure of such a crystalline rock.
….. Granite is an igneous rock and is formed from magma.
Natural Radiation
Granite is a normal, geological, source of radiation in the natural environment. Granite has around 10 to 20 parts per million of uranium. By contrast, more mafic rocks such as tonalite, gabbro or diorite have 1 to 5ppm uranium, and limestones and sedimentary rocks usually equally low.
Many large granite plutons are the sources for palaeochannel-hosted or roll front uranium ore deposits, where the uranium washes into the sediments from the granite uplands and associated, often highly radioactive, pegmatites.
In buildings constructed primarily from natural granite, it is possible to be exposed to approximately 200 mrems per year. 1
Granite could be considered a potential natural radiological hazard as, for instance, villages located over granite may be susceptible to higher doses of radiation than other communites. 2 Cellars and basements sunk into soils formed over or from particularly uraniferous granites can become a trap for radon gas, which is heavier than air.
However, in the majority of cases, although granite is a significant source of natural radiation as compared to other rocks it is not often an acute health threat or significant risk factor. Various resources from national geological survey organisations are accessible online to assist in assessing the risk factors in granite country and design rules relating, in particular, to preventing accumulation of radon gas in enclosed basements and dwellings.
Modern
Granite has been extensively used as a dimension stone and as flooring tiles in public and commercial buildings and monuments. With increasing amounts of acid rain in parts of the world, granite has begun to supplant marble as a monument material, since it is much more durable. Polished granite is also a popular choice for kitchen countertops due to its high durability and aesthetic qualities. Currently 33% of the kitchen countertops being made are of granite.

The granite has a phaneritic texture It means that the size of grains in the rock are large enough to be distinguished with the unaided eye as opposed to aphanitic (which is too small to see with the naked eye). This texture forms by slow cooling of magma deep underground in the plutonic environment.

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▐►stoneage-periods◄▌

Hand Axe A handaxe is a bifacial Paleolithic core tool. This kind of axe is typical of the lower (Acheulean) and the middle Palaeolithic (Mousterian) and is the longest used tool of human history.
200.000 years ago a period of more rapid change about 200,000 years ago. Hand axes and large bifacial stone tools were replaced by stone flakes and blades that were fashioned into scrapers, spear points, and parts for hafted, composite implements. This technological stage, now known as the Middle Stone Age.

Mesolithic age 10–8th Millennium "…began at the end of the last glacial era, over 10,000 years ago. Cultures included gradual domestication of plants and animals, formation of settled communities, use of the bow, and development of delicate stone microliths and pottery." stoneage
Neolithic Copper Age 5th Millennium (Early Phase)
Neolithic Copper Age second half of 5th – first half of 4th Millennium, (Late Phase)
Bronze Age 3200 – 1200 (Early Thracian Culture)
Iron Age 1200 – 500 (Late Thracian Culture)

▐►Ice Ages ◄▌(in Europe and esp. Ireland)
Ireland was an island about 125,000 years ago when the sea level appears to have been very close to its present position. The sea level dropped 130 m (426 feet) or more during the interval from around 30,000 to 15,000 years ago, when Ireland became part of continental Europe [again], and sea levels have been generally rising ever since, albeit at a much slower rate.
In and around 20,000 years ago the area that would later reform the British Isles was mainly covered by a thick sheet of ice. This was during the last maximum expansion of the polar ice caps when sea levels were about 120 meters lower than today.
After a period of about 18000 BC – 16000 BC the thick glacial ice could expand no more and slowly began to melt or evaporate. At the same time the sea levels slowly began to increase.
Estimated between 11000 to 9000 BC the earth’s temperature fluctuated, dropped overall, and subsequent periods of glaciation again occurred in Ireland.
After about 9000 BC, the climate again warmed, the juniper spread, and the birch appeared in large numbers for the first time. Pine, elm and other forest trees also appeared, and Ireland began a long-term process of forestation. Other plants and animals crossed the land bridges as well.
Sea level changes and Ireland Relative sea-level rose rapidly between 10,000-5,000 years ago, at averaged rates of approximately 6mm/year. By about 5,000 years ago sea-level rise had slowed considerably to less than 1 mm per year, with RSL having reached to within 2m of present levels by 3,000 years ago.
The association between climate change sea-level seems intuitively clear. Greenhouse gas forcing of climate warming – with the scenario of equivalent C02 doubling by about the year 2030 and averaged temperature rise of 1.5-4.5°C (expected minimum rise of c. 2°C) – would lead to additional melting of the world’s remaining ice masses (glaciers, ice sheets, ice caps), coupled with a thermal expansion of ocean water; these together leading to sea-level rise against the world’s coastlines.
Speculation in the late 1970s by glaciologists, climate and ocean scientists suggested that the effect of any such climate warming on West Antarctica, which contains about nine per cent of the world’s ice, might be catastrophic for the ice sheet due to its structure and thermal characteristics. Conjecture about its melt-out has led to estimates of global sea-level reaching at least 5m above present levels by c. 2150. A complete melting of this ice sheet could lead eventually, it was estimated, to a global raising of sea levels by c. 6m from this source alone.
Since that time, intensive research and improved modelling of the ice sheet’s likely behaviour under climate warming scenarios has led to a drastic reevaluation of its and other glaciers’ effects upon the oceans. For Ireland and Northwest Europe, RSL rise is likely to be much less than suggested in the 1970s.

▐► B I S O N ◄▌
description a humpbacked shaggy-hared wild ox native to North America and Europe. Genus Bison, family Bovidae. B. bison or North American Prairies (also called Buffalo) and B. bonasus of European forests (also called Wisent), now found only in Poland. These are sometimes regarded as a single species.

Bison Bonasus Stumbras (Lithuanian); Зубар [Subar] (Belarussian); Visent (Norse, Swedish); Visentti (Finnish); Wisent (Dutch, English, German); Zimbru (Romanian); Zubr [Зубр] (Czech, Polish, Russian);Obélix (french).

IMAGES @ flickr.com
○ Fighting Bisons @ flickr.com
○ Buffalo in the mist @ flickr.com
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en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bison (sometimes referred to as the Prairie Cow) is a taxonomic group containing six species of large even-toed ungulates within the subfamily Bovinae. Only two of these species still exist: the American Bison (B. bison) and the European Bison, or wisent (B. bonasus). {†B. antiquus, B. bison, B. bonasus, †B. latifrons, †B. occidentalis, †B. priscus}

BISON ANTIQUUS †
○ ICE AGE BISON (skeleton) bison antiquus became extinct between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago, near the end of the Pleistocene Ice Age.
○ Buffalo roamed from Asia to North America Some scientists believe that it was human hunting that wiped out this subspecies of bison about 10,000 years ago–a foreshadowing of the remaining species’ near-extinction by European settlers just 100 years ago.
○ Hudson-Meng Bison Hudson-Meng bison represent an intermediate, or transitional form, in what might be considered as the quantum jump from Bison antiquus, or occidentalis to Bison bison. … About 1 million years ago the bison migrated into North America.

BUFFALO
In American Western culture, the bison is commonly referred to as "buffalo"; however, this is a misnomer. Though both bison and buffalo belong to the same family, Bovidae, the term ‘buffalo’ properly applies only to the Asian Water Buffalo and African Buffalo. The gaur, a large, thick-coated ox found in Asia, is also known as the Indian Bison, although it is in the genus Bos and thus not a true bison.
The American and European bison are the largest terrestrial mammals in North America and Europe. Like their cattle relatives, bison are nomadic grazers and travel in herds, except for the non-dominant bulls, which travel alone or in small groups during most of the year. American bison are known for living in the Great Plains. Both species were hunted close to extinction during the 19th and 20th centuries but have since rebounded, although the European bison is still endangered.
Unlike the Asian Water Buffalo, the bison has never really been domesticated, although it does appear on farms occasionally. It is raised now mostly on large ranches in the United States and Canada for meat. Wild herds are found in Yellowstone, Utah’s Antelope Island, South Dakota’s Custer State Park, Alaska, and northern central Canada (see Wood Bison).
Bison live to be about 20 years old and are born without their trademark "hump" or horns. With the development of their horns, they become mature at two to three years of age, although the males continue to grow slowly to about age seven. Adult bulls express a high degree of dominance during mating season.
On March 16, 2007, 15 American bison were re-introduced to Colorado to roam where they did over a century ago. A herd of 15 bison has been established in the 17,000-acre (69 km²) Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, a former chemical weapons manufacturing site.
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Bison bonasus Wisent, Europäischer Bison, Europas schwerstes und größtes Landsäugetier.
Gefährdete Arten Neben dem Auerochsen war der Wisent das zweite Wildrind, das in den Urwäldern Europas heimisch gewesen ist. Er ist der nächste Verwandte des nordamerikanischen Bisons; beide haben sich aus einer längst ausgestorbenen indischen Stammform entwickelt: der Bison in Nordamerika, der Wisent in Vorderindien und Europa. Wisente können, in beiden Geschlechtern, eine Kopf-Rumpf-Länge von 3,40 Metern, eine Körperhöhe von 2 Metern und ein Körpergewicht von 1000 Kilo erreichen.
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Bison = the tractor of the stoneage?
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▐►LINGUISTICS◄▌
buffalo ru.буйволов, es. búfalo fr.buffle, ch.布法羅, jp 水牛, ko.버팔로, ar.جاموسه
cow it.mucca;de.Muh-Kuh;lt.vacca;fr.vache;es.vaca, ru.корова, ch.奶牛, jp.牛, ko.암소,, ar.البقره
Mortar & Pestle, Manus manum lavat. Exchange: Money Goods.
pestle de.Stößel ru.пестиком, fr.pilon, it.pestello, es.maja, pt.pilão ,ch.杵,jp.乳棒,ko.방앗공이, ar.مدقه
mortar fr.mortier,it.mortaio,de.Mörser, es.mortero,pt.almofariz,ru.минометный,ch.砂浆, jp.乳鉢,ko.박격포,ar.هاون
heads or tails (auf Münzen) = Kopf oder Zahl
pestle noun: heavy tool with a rounded end, used for crushing and grinding substances such as spices or drugs, usually in a mortar. verb: crush or grind with a pestle: she measured seeds into the mortar and pestled them to powder
ORIGIN old French pestel, latin pistillum, from pist- pounded, from lt. pînsere –> pîstor = baker
pestle de. Stößel, Pistill, das (fachspr.)
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harness a set of straps and fittings or other draubht animal is fastened to cart, plough, etc. and is controlled by its driver
■ an arrangement for straps for fastening something such as a parachute to a person’s body or for restraining a young child
► verb to put a harness on (a horse or other draught animal)
■ (harness something) attach a draught animal to (something) by a harness: the horse was harnished to two long shafts, the Harnished Prometheus
2 control and make use of (natural resorces), especially to produce energy: attempts to harness solar energy | figurative harnessing the creativity of the graduates
PHRASES in harness (of a horse or animal) used for driving or draught work ■ in the routine of daily work: a man who died in harness far beyound the normal age of retirement ■ working closely with someone to achieve something: local and central government should work in harness [NODE p 839]
harness racing another term for trotting (‘Trabrennen’)
trot = lifting each diagonal pair of legs alternatively
(trotting)
‘Granite Buffalo’ –> Results: 1.960.000 (esp. Granite Works in Buffalo, NY).

▐►stylings◄▌
◄ Granite Bison in Harness ► ▬ ▲ la Obélix de la Berlin ▲(Sept 14th)
draughthorse –> draught-bison

▐►Vorgeschichtliches Museum Berlin◄▌

Das Charlottenburger Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte wird im für 233 Millionen Euro restaurierten Neuen Museum (1842 von Friedrich August Stüler erbaut) auf der Museumsinsel im Oktober 2009 wiedereröffnet. {21.Sept. 2007, Radiomeldung vom Richtfest im Neuen Museum in Anwesenheit von Stararchitekt David Chipperfield und Kulturstaatsminister Bernd Neumann }
○ Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin ist eine der größten überregionalen prähistorischen Sammlungen der Alten Welt. Es befindet sich im an das Schloss Charlottenburg angrenzenden Langhansbau (ehemaliges Schlosstheater) und umfasst insgesamt sechs Ausstellungssäle auf drei Etagen.
○ Die Sammlung des Museums geht zurück auf das Kunstkabinett der Hohenzollern, die ab 1830 im Schloss Monbijou eine Sammlung alter Fundstücke als „Museum Vaterländischer Altertümer“ aufgebaut hatten. Die Sammlung hatte später ihren Sitz zunächst im Neuen Museum, ab 1886 im Museum für Völkerkunde in der Prinz-Albrecht-Straße und ab 1921 im Martin-Gropius-Bau, der 1931 in das Staatliche Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte umgewandelt wurde. Zu den bedeutendsten Förderern und Beiträgern der Sammlung gehören Rudolf Virchow und Heinrich Schliemann. Nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg gelangten Teilbestände des Museums als Beutekunst nach Russland.[1] Der Umzug des Museums in das Schloss Charlottenburg erfolgte 1960. Nach der Wende wurden zahlreiche Exponate, die bis dahin im Ost-Berliner Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte eingelagert waren, in den Bestand aufgenommen.
○ ○ Stein- und Bronzezeit-Saal [Bearbeiten] Im Stein- und Bronzezeit-Saal (Saal 3) werden Funde dieser Epoche aus Europa dargestellt. Zu sehen sind Artefakte der steinzeitlichen Fundstellen von Combe Capelle und Le Moustier, Kunsterzeugnisse der Eiszeit sowie die Entwicklung der paläo- und mesolithischen Werkzeuge. Außerdem werden die neolithischen Kulturen Europas von der Bandkeramik- bis zur Glockenbecherkultur vorgestellt. Darüber hinaus sind im Abschnitt zur Bronzezeit Exponate ausgestellt, die die Entwicklung der Metallurgie und des Kults und der Bestattungsriten veranschaulichen. Geografisch reichen die Fundplätze dabei von Westeuropa, Norddeutschland und Skandinavien, dem östlichen Mitteleuropa, dem Alpen- und Donauraum bis nach Oberitalien.
○ Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte
Schloß Charlottenburg, Langhansbau, 14059 Berlin

J’arrête là cette simple mise en scène des acteurs, deux millions et demi d’années, les premiers hommes auteurs d’outils, d’habitats un peu structurés; quarante mille ans à peine, le Sapiens, créateur d’images. Que s’est-il passé dans cette évolution, extrêmement courte par rapport à l’histoire de la vie? Qu’est-ce qui fut, et est, le plus marquant? Si nous comparons un de ces premiers hommes tel qu’on l’a défini mais cette fois-ci du côté paléontologique, comme celui que l’on appelle Homo habilis, l’homme habile-auteur d’outils, et un Homo sapiens, le Cro-Magnon ou l’inventeur des peintures de Chauvet ou de Lascaux, la différence fondamentale, et je dirais presque en exagérant, la seule différence concerne la boîte crânienne. Les premiers hommes étaient des bipèdes parfaitement accomplis. Les premiers hommes savaient fabriquer des outils, les premiers hommes disposaient déjà d’un appareil phonatoire qui était sur le plan anatomique parfaitement propre à émettre des sons et à les articuler. On peut imaginer, scientifiquement que le paléolangage est d’entrée aussi un élément séparateur de l’homme par rapport à son animalité essentielle, originelle. Certes. L’unité psycho-anthropologique de Sapiens – Par Denis Vialou

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280510: 8530
081010: 9045
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GOOGLE – SEARCH – RESULTS: “Alpha”-Bison “BEROLINA” (250809:75; 280510: 34.800; 08102010: 39.600)

with missing backlink & added marketing pop-ups
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► kitchenandbathdealers_com
► You Work Online Helping You Make a Living Online
Grab The Affiliate Marketing Profits@ affilatecrunch
Overcome Anxiety Blog A little stress relief. post on: September 19th, 2010 at 5:28 pm

API – ‘BACK-UPS’
► How To Develop Quality Backlinks in Less Than 10 Minutes

Clickthroughs: Via CC it is now in the following public domain pages:
evriM. Bison, known in Japan as Vega, is a video game character created by Capcom. First introduced in Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, the character is a recurring boss and antagonist in the Street Fighter series of fighting games. A would-be world dictator, a pure impersonation of evil on world, M. Bison’s ambition is to control the world’s governments through his covert crime syndicate… @ evri
transmissionprice Make Money Online Survey
sprywii recover password, related piece
en.wikipedia Berolina Chess
tumblr image
wordnik (examples, definitions, word-frequencies) buffle, bison, draught, artifact
answerbag bison
mashpedia European Stone Age, Mousterian Culture ( predominantly flint tools of Homo neanderthalensis)
ueberuns (Infos und Kontaktadressen zur Webseite) Uni Ulm, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg
► Ethnological Museum Berlin, Arnimallee 27, DE-14195 @ funtouristattractiions
► Local Affiliate Marketing Small Business: The Everyday Affiliate
October 17th, 2010 | Author: Admin

NRC Receives Department of Energy License Application for Yucca Mountain on June 3, 2008
Radioactive materials

Image by NRCgov
The Department of Energy’s license application for the proposed Yucca Mountain high-level waste repository is formally presented by Edward Sproat (below, front row right), Department of Energy’s director of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, to Michael F. Weber, director of NRC’s Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS). In picture behind them (left to right) are Hippolito Gonzalez, Bill Ford, Gloria Higgs, Deborah DeMarco, David Misenhimer and Gene Peters of the NMSS staff.

Visit the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s website at www.nrc.gov/.

To comment on this photo go to public-blog.nrc-gateway.gov/2012/04/01/nrc-moves-its-publ….

traditional-sonobe-snub-dodecahedron-blacklight-easy-shooting-long-shutter.1
Radioactive materials

Image by Ardonik
Full lighting | Blacklight | Lights off

I’ve always loved the way phosphorescent materials inherently fluoresce under a blacklight, even when surrounding material remains dark. But it was only recently that I actually decided to purchase a blacklight bulb to see the effect for myself.

From a distance, the combination of the glow-in-the-dark polyhedron, the black backdrop, and the blacklight make the origami appear "radioactive" to the eye. It was that effect which I wanted to capture in a photograph, but how? Blacklight photography is more difficult than run-of-the-mill photography, and the run-of-the-mill variety is already hard enough for a non-expert such as myself.

After spending days trying to teach myself about apertures, focal lengths, and F-stop numbers, I happened to discover that my camera had a mode—"Easy Shooting"—which actually does make shooting easier. I don’t understand what settings it modified, but whatever it did, it seemed to work.

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