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"The Lost Buddhas of Bamiyan: Photographs by Volker Thewalt"
2002-04-25 until 2002-03-03
Crow Collection
Dallas, TX,

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 These photographs are important art historical documents of the Buddhas and the exhibition will address the history of the Bamiyan area and the importance of the silk-route system in Asia.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.


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