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article imageOil paintings originated in Afghanistan?

By Chris V. Thangham     Apr 23, 2008 in Entertainment
French scientists have found oil-based paintings in caves used by nomadic Buddhist monks in the 7th century in Afghanistan. These paintings are the oldest ever found anywhere.
It was originally thought oil paintings were developed in Europe in the 13th century, but French scientists have found oil paintings originated first in the East of what is now known as Afghanistan.
Scientists from the European Synchtron Radiation Facility in Grenoble have been investigating the cave paintings at the ancient complex of Bamiyan.
Two giant Buddhas once stood at the entrance of the caves, but the Taliban forces destroyed most of it. Behind the statues were a network of caves, where the monks used to live and pray.
The team analyzed the wall paintings and found they were covered with oil paints, derived from the walnuts or the poppies from the nearby region.
The wall-paintings were devotional art showing Buddha, often in colorful robes.
Researchers think the paintings must have been carried out by the nomadic artists traveling the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the West.
There are plans to restore the Buddha statues, but no one is sure how it to succeed amidst violence and vandalism from the Taliban.
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