- Title: Afghan museum recreates Buddhist history, one broken piece at a time
- Date: 14th October 2019
- Summary: KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (OCTOBER 14, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF AFGHAN CONSERVATOR SHERAZUDDIN SAIFI LOOKING AT PIECES OF STATUES REMNANTS AT NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFGHANISTAN PIECES OF STATUES' REMNANTS ON THE TABLE SHERAZUDDIN'S HANDS WHILE CHECKING THE PIECE OF A STATUE SHERAZUDDIN'S FACE VARIOUS OF SHERAZUDDIN CHECKING STATUES' PIECES
- Embargoed: 28th October 2019 09:22
- Keywords: Afghanistan museum Buddhist history broken restored
- Location: KABUL, AFGHANISTAN
- City: KABUL, AFGHANISTAN
- Country: Afghanistan
- Topics: Art,Arts / Culture / Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA001B12HQVB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Like assembling a 1,500-year-old jigsaw puzzle, conservators at the National Museum of Afghanistan are restoring the country's Buddhist history that the Taliban tried to erase.
The militant Islamic group went on a cultural rampage in 2001, destroying artefacts from as long ago as the third century, when many Afghans practised Buddhism. The destruction included two towering Buddha statues in Bamyan province and scores of smaller ones that had been excavated from Buddhist monastery sites and preserved at the Kabul museum.
After the Taliban government fell the same year, the museum began restoring remnants of Afghanistan's Buddhist history. Its latest project, with U.S. support, aims to reassemble thousands of pieces into statues within the next three years.
Forty years of war, from the 1980s Soviet occupation to internal fighting and the war against the Taliban, have destroyed much of Afghanistan's art, artefacts and architecture. Warlords stole other pieces and sold them abroad.
In 2001, conservator Sherazuddin Saifi, 62, was working in the museum.
"They (Taliban) came with a number of people and opened the door of the national museum (of Afghanistan) and they started breaking the antiques," said Saifi, who still works at the museum.
Sometimes they work from archived photos that depict the statues intact. In other cases, 3-D imaging and imagination are required to sort and reassemble stucco shards of Buddha faces, hands and torsos.
(Production: Samargul Zwak / Aziz Mohammad / Hameed Farzad / Sayed Hassib)
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