Of oil painting at bamyan in afghanistan predating european oil

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Many of these monks embellished their caves with religious statuary and elaborate, brightly colored frescoes.

The two most prominent statues were the giant standing Buddhas Vairocana and Sakyamuni, identified by the different mudras performed, measuring 55 and 37 metres (180 and 121 feet) high respectively.

Coordinates: 34°49′55.35″N 67°49′36.49″E / 34.8320417°N 67.8268028°E / 34.8320417; 67.8268028The Buddhas of Bamiyan (Persian: تندیس‌های باميان – tandīs hāy-e Bāmiyān) were two monumental statues of standing buddhas carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, situated 230 km (143 miles) northwest of Kabul at an altitude of 2,500 meters (8,202 ft).

Although Buddhism first arrived to Afghanistan around the 3rd century BC, when Seleucus Nicator gave control of the region to Chandragupta Maurya (Sandrocottus) upon terms of intermarriage and of receiving in exchange 500 elephants (Strabo 64 BC–24 AD), there is no evidence when these giant Buddha statues were built.

It was a Buddhist religious site from the 2nd century up to the time of the Islamic invasion in the 9th century.

Monks at the monasteries lived as hermits in small caves carved into the side of the Bamiyan cliffs.

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.

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They were intentionally dynamited and destroyed in March 2001 by the Taliban, on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were "idols".

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.

The Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang passed through the area around 630, 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".

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.

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