Indepth Arts News: |
"The Lost Buddhas of Bamiyan: Photographs by Volker Thewalt"
2002-04-25 until 2002-03-03
The exhibition contains a set of 30 photographic images capturing the
majestic Buddhist sculptures in Afghanistan before the Taliban defaced
the works of art in March of 2001. Dr. Volker Thewalt, German scholar
of Indian Art and Archaeology, photographed the Bamiyan region in
Central Afghanistan during a research trip from 1969-1974 while the
Buddhas were still intact. These photographs are important art
historical documents of
the Buddhas and the exhibition will address the history of the Bamiyan
area and the importance of the silk-route system in Asia.
According to Thewalt: „The construction of the monasteries and cells was
started under Kanishka, the Kushan emperor, in the second century.
Stylistically, the Buddhas and the decoration of the monasteries around
them are a mixture of Greco-Roman art as it was developed in Gandhara
under the Kushans, Indian art under the Guptas and Iranian art under the
Sasanians. It is generally accepted that the small Buddha is the older
one, constructed in the 2nd-3rd centuries, while the large Buddha dates
most probably from the 3rd-4th centuries. The small Buddha (120 ft.)
had a blue robe while the large Buddha (175 ft.) had a red robe. Faces
and hands of both of them were golden --- traces of the painting were
still visible in 1969.‰
While a student in the Department of Oriental Art History of the
Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms University in Bonn, Germany, Volker
Thewalt secured permission from the Director General Archaeology
Afghanistan to do field work and take photographs in the Bamiyan region
in 1969, 1970 and 1974. From 1980 until 1990, he worked with the
University of Heidelberg and with the Heidelberg Academy of the
Humanities and Sciences to document the rock carvings and inscriptions
in the northern areas of Pakistan.
The Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art contains more than
600 paintings, objects of metal and stone, and large architectural
pieces from China, Japan, India, and Southeast Asia. Over 300 works are
on display in the galleries including precious jade ornaments from
China, delicate Japanese scrolls and a rarely seen 28-foot by 12-foot
sandstone facade of an 18th century Indian residence.