History of Buddha statues in the Bamiyan Valley of Afghanistan
History of Buddha statues in the Bamiyan Valley of Afghanistan
Anonim

The Bamiyan Valley is located in central Afghanistan, less than 200 km northwest of Kabul. In the valley is the modern city of Bamiyan - the center of the province of the same name in Afghanistan.

The valley is the only convenient passage through the Hindu Kush, therefore since ancient times it served as a trade corridor.

In the II century, Buddhist monasteries arose here. Under King Ashoka, the construction of giant statues began, which was completed only two hundred years later. In the 5th century, a Chinese traveler writes about ten monasteries that were inhabited by thousands of monks. Extensive cave complexes, carved into the rocks, served as inns for pilgrims and traders. In the XI century, the valley was annexed to the Muslim state of the Ghaznavids, but the Buddhist shrines were not destroyed then. The city of Gaugale, adorned with beautiful mosques, grew up in the valley.

In 1221, the troops of Genghis Khan destroyed the city and devastated the valley. In the Middle Ages, the complex of Buddhist monasteries in the Bamiyan Valley was called Kafirkala - the city of the infidels.

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Unique are the two giant Buddha statues that were part of the complex of Buddhist monasteries in the Bamiyan Valley. In 2001, despite the protests of the world community and other Islamic countries, the statues were savagely destroyed by the Taliban, who believed that they were pagan idols and should be destroyed.

The statues were carved into the cliffs surrounding the valley, partially complemented by sturdy plaster held in place by wooden reinforcements. The upper parts of the sculptures' faces, made of wood, were lost in antiquity. In addition to the destroyed sculptures, in the monasteries of the valley there is another one depicting the reclining Buddha; excavations began in 2004.

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Coordinates: 34.716667, 67.834 ° 43 ′ s. sh. 67 ° 48 ′ E d. / 34.716667 ° N sh. 67.8 ° E etc.

By the way, these statues have repeatedly endured invasions of people hostile to Buddhism. The first time the valley was devastated by Genghis Khan, and the second time it was annexed to the Muslim state of the Ghaznavids, however, in the first and second cases, the conquerors left the giant sculptures intact.

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According to the description of travelers who visited the Bamiyan Valley from the 1st to the 10th centuries, the shine of the gold jewelry that covered the statue of the Big Buddha dazzled the eyes, the folds of clothing, in contrast to the figure itself, carved out of the rock, were made of plaster and sculpted over a stone image, covered with molten metal enrichment paint on top (probably bronze). The drapery of the clothes was made using a unique technology, thanks to which a melodic ringing was heard when the wind gusts. For 1500 years, Buddha statues and rock-cut shrines in Bamiyan have been the epitome of glory, luxury, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan during its heyday and harmony with its neighbors.

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Until the 3rd century, Afghanistan was ancient Bactria, one of the provinces of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. Later, Bactria joined the Kushan kingdom. The Silk Road through Afghanistan contributed to the spread of Buddhism from India to this region in the first century AD.

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They also patronized art and religion in the Kushan, which is why Buddhism was introduced into the Bactrian style, which had previously been influenced by Hellenistic art.

Islamism was introduced to Bamiyan in the 11th century AD, when central Afghanistan was under the rule of Sultan Mahmud Chazna (998 - 1030). And the city of Juljul (Bamyan) began to be corrected according to the model of the Khorasan region of Iran.

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As a result, fortified walls, towers, fortresses, earthen structures and citadels appeared. At the beginning of the 13th century, Genghis Khan's army destroyed the city of Bamiyan to the last stone and plundered Buddhist monasteries. Only the Buddha statues were not touched.In the 17th century, the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb ordered his army to shoot the legs of the big Buddha.

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The valley had already been abandoned by that time. It was only in the middle of the 19th century that the caves began to be populated and used as shelters for pets. In 1979, the city of Bamiyan had about 7,000 inhabitants.

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In the 1970s-1980s, the valley was used by the Soviet military.

A Chinese traveler, Xuan Zang, who visited Bamiyan around 630 AD, described not only two standing Buddhas, but also a temple away from the royal palace, where the reclining Buddha was approximately 1,000 feet long. Many experts believe that it lay on the ground and was destroyed long ago. But two archaeologists, Zemaryalai Tarzi from Afghanistan and Kazuya Yamauchi from Japan, are diligently digging in hopes of finding its foundation. Tarzi, who excavated a Buddhist monastery, may have also found the wall of the royal fortress, which could lead to the third Buddha. “For the first time, the history of Bamiyan is being literally excavated, both through restoration work and through archaeological excavations,” said Kasaku Maeda, a Japanese historian who has studied Bamiyan for over 40 years.

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The most surprising find was the ark, which contained three clay beads, a leaf, clay seals and fragments of Buddhist text written on the bark. It is believed that the ark was placed on the chest of a larger Buddha and plastered during construction.

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In 2001, large Buddha statues were destroyed by the Taliban. When the Taliban and their al-Qaeda backers were at the zenith of power in Afghanistan. The militants, in pursuance of the decree on the destruction of the "gods of the infidels" made every effort. This happened in March, the operation was carried out for two weeks. At first, for several days, the statues were shot from 2 anti-aircraft guns and artillery, then anti-tank mines were laid in the niches at the base and, finally, several residents of the Khazar were lowered on ropes down the rocks, where they laid explosives into the base and shoulders of two Buddhas and tore the statues into pieces.

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This is how eyewitnesses write about it:

Mirza Hussein and other prisoners labored for many hours planting mines, bombs and dynamite at the foot of Afghanistan's most picturesque artwork, the 55th standing Buddha, carved into a sandstone cliff in the Bamiyan Valley around the 7th century. When the work was completed, the local Taliban commander gave a symbolic signal, and hundreds of observers covered their ears, holding their breath in anticipation of the fall of the Buddha. However, this did not happen. The first explosive charge only destroyed the legs of the statue. “They were very disappointed,” says Hussein, referring to the Taliban leaders, who decreed in March 2001 that a famous Buddhist monument is idolatrous and therefore must be destroyed.

Initially, Taliban fighters fired at the Buddha with machine guns, MANPADS and RPGs, but the destruction was minimal. After the explosion at the base of the statue failed, Hussein and the other prisoners were hung along the edge of the cliffs to fill holes in the soft stone with dynamite. “Our soldiers are working hard to destroy the remaining parts,” Moloi Kadratallah Jamal, Taliban minister of information and culture, told a news conference in Kabul the day after the blast. "It's easier to destroy than rebuild."

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He was right. Within days, the Taliban nearly wiped out the remnants of the mighty Buddhist civilization that ruled this strategic valley at the crossroads of Central Asian trade for six centuries. They plundered the caves at Bamiyan Rock, smashing thousands of smaller Buddha sculptures. They cut off the filigree frescoes from the walls, and where they were unable to cut off the plaster, they knocked out the eyes and hands of the depicted people. Locals say the figures in the images had facial features typical of the Hazaras, the persecuted Shiite minority that inhabits the area.After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, hundreds of Hazaras were killed; many in the valley believe that the destruction of the Buddhas was an extension of their genocidal campaign. “The eyes of the Buddha were similar to those of the locals, and the Taliban destroyed the statues just as they tried to destroy us,” said Marziya Mohammadi, a midwife. "They wanted to kill our culture, erase us in this valley."

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For seven years, archaeologists and volunteers from around the world have done everything in their power to revive these symbols of Bamiyan's Buddhist heritage. Piles of shattered stone were piled into a corrugated iron and plastic shelter erected where the Buddhas once stood. Now scientists argue whether the statues should be restored, and if so, how. After all, very little of the authentic plaster and stone has survived. Putting them together again would be akin to putting together a jigsaw puzzle of millions of pieces - but without the original image printed on the lid. However, Habibi Sarabi, governor of Bamiyan, believes that the restoration of the Buddhas is important for the psychological climate in her area. “Buddhas were a part of people's lives in Bamiyan,” she says. "Now the empty niches of the Buddhas affect the landscape, overwhelming people."

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In a process called “assembly,” the original fragments of the damaged sculpture can be mixed together with cement or other materials - as was done at the ancient Cambodian temple complex of Angkor Wat. However, according to reconstruction experts, if less than half of the original material remains, the new structure loses its historical value and is considered only an exact copy. Restoring a replica could permanently remove the Bamiyan Buddha statues from the UNESCO World Heritage List. Archaeologists estimate that the remainder is approximately 50% of the original stone, but more complete research is still to be done.

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Abdul Ahad Abassi, head of Afghanistan's historic heritage restoration and conservation department, sees a pattern in the Taliban's efforts to destroy the Buddhas. One of the early Islamic kings of Afghanistan broke into caves in the 11th century, smashing idols. In the late 19th century, King Abdul Rahman's mother shot the standing Buddhas with cannons. Afghan history, he said, is filled with individuals who have tried to erase the past. However, they are also part of Afghanistan's legacy - a legacy that it has to preserve through work. For all its brutality, this Taliban legacy is an important part of Afghanistan's recent past.

The empty niches of Bamiyan are a reminder of a cruelty that cannot be forgotten - the restoration of the Buddhas would be a kind of erasure of memory. “The present state of Buddhas is itself an expression of our history,” Abassi said. "No matter how good or bad the Taliban were, we cannot rip this page out of the book."

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Governor Sorabi sees a Solomon solution fitting Afghanistan's recent history with its ancient culture. “We have a few empty niches, that's enough to remind us of the dark pages of our history,” she said. "By restoring one Buddha, we can leave the other destroyed."

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A group of specialists from the University of Munich (FRG) made a statement on the fundamental possibility of reconstructing one of the Buddha statues in the Bamiyan Valley of Afghanistan, blown up by the Taliban in 2001.

The world famous sculptures (one 53 m high and the other 35 m) did not interfere with anyone for 1,500 years, until the Islamists considered them "a disgusting manifestation of idolatry."

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Having meticulously studied hundreds of fragments of the statues, researchers led by Professor Erwin Emmerling came to the conclusion that the smaller statue should be restored. As for the second, the depth (thickness) of which reached 12 m, scientists are skeptical.

But the revival of the 35-meter statue will not be an easy interlude.Even if we do not take into account the political and other external difficulties, the practical implementation of this good intention is associated with a number of difficulties. We will either have to build a special production facility in the Bamiyan Valley, or figure out how to transport 1,400 fragments weighing about 2 tons each to Germany.

Moreover, according to the scientist, the decision must be made as soon as possible, since the sandstone from which the statues were carved is very fragile, and the fragments, despite all efforts to preserve them, will lose their shape suitable for restoring the statue in a few years.

As for the larger statue (55 meters high), Emmerling noted that it protruded more sharply in the relief of the cliff in which it was carved, and therefore suffered more from the explosions. The scientist doubted the possibility of its restoration.

One of the results of the work of European and Japanese scientists in Bamiyan will be the creation of a three-dimensional model of the Buddhas in their original form. Researchers, in particular, found that after the construction of the statues were brightly painted, and later the colors were refreshed several times. In addition, Emmerling's group, using mass spectral analysis, clarified the dating of the creation of the statues: the smaller one was between 544 and 595, the larger one was between 591 and 644 (the Muslim chronology according to which the Taliban who destroyed the statues lived begins from 622).

There is information, however, that some Japanese Buddhists have already agreed to allocate money for the project, whatever it may be. This will be discussed in more detail at a special conference in Paris this week.

We add that along the way, Germanic scientists dated the smaller Buddha to 544–595 years, and his large colleague to 591–644.

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And here is another interesting project:

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The Afghan government has also approved a proposal by Japanese artist Hiro Yamagata to create a $ 64 million laser-sound installation that would display images of Buddhas in Bamiyan and be powered by hundreds of wind turbines, simultaneously supplying the surrounding residents with electricity.

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There is such a theory of the appearance of these statues:

Through the labors of the Atlantean initiates who migrated to Central Asia after the sinking of Atlantis, a 1: 1 scale model of the five root races was created in the form of statues carved into the rocks. These statues were located in today's Afghanistan in the Bamiyan Valley. The Secret Doctrine of H.P. Blavatsky gives the most accurate descriptions of this model of the five root races. It is worth citing this quote in full here.

“… About the Bamyan statues. What are these statues and what is the area in which they stood for countless centuries, resisting the cataclysms that took place around them, and even the hand of a man, as, for example, during the invasion of the hordes of Timur and the Vandal warriors of Nadir Shah? Bamyan is a small, wretched, dilapidated town in Central Asia halfway between Kabul and Bal'om, at the foot of Koh-i-baba, a huge mountain of the Paropamiz or Hindu Kush chain, about 8500 f. above sea level. In ancient times, Bamyan was part of the ancient city of Julzhul, plundered and destroyed to the last stone by Chinggis Khan in the 13th century. The entire valley is bordered by colossal rocks, which are filled partly with natural and partly artificial caves and grottoes, once the abodes of Buddhist monks who founded their Viharas in them. Similar Viharas are found in abundance today in the rock-cut temples of India and in the valleys of Jalalabad. In front of some of these caves, five huge statues were discovered or, rather, rediscovered in our century, which are regarded as Images of Buddha, for the famous Chinese traveler Xuanzang says that he saw them when he visited Bamyan in the seventh century.

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The claim that there are no larger statues around the globe is easily supported by the testimonies of all the travelers who examined and measured them. So, the largest at 173 p. height or seventy feet higher than the "Statue of Liberty" in New York, since the latter is measured only 105 pounds. or 34 meters in height.The famous Colossus of Rhodes itself, between whose legs the largest ships of that time passed with ease, was only from 120 to 130 pounds. heights. The second large statue, carved like the first in the rock, has only 120 lbs. or 15 lb. above the said statue of "Liberty". The third statue measures only £ 60, the other two are even smaller, and the last of them is only slightly larger than the average tall man of our present Race.

The first and largest of these colossi depicts a man draped in a sort of toga. M. de Nadeylak believes that the general appearance of this statue, the lines of the head, folds and especially the large pendulous ears are irrefutable indications that the image of the Buddha was supposed to be given. But in reality they prove nothing of the kind. Despite the fact that most of the currently existing Buddha figures depicted in the Samadhi position have large drooping ears, this is only a later innovation and a later thought. The original thought was taken from Esoteric Allegory. Unnaturally large ears are a symbol of the omniscience of wisdom and were supposed to mean and remind the power of the One who knows everything and hears everything, and from whose benevolent love and care for all creatures, nothing can escape. As the Verse says: "The Merciful Master, our Teacher, hears the cry of suffering of the smallest of the smallest beyond the valleys and mountains and rushes to his aid."

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Gotama Buddha was a Hindu, an Aryan, while approaching such ears is found only among the Mongoloids, Burmese and Siamese, who, like in Kochin, artificially disfigure their ears. Buddhist monks who converted the Miao Jie grottoes into Viharas and cells came to Central Asia in the first century of the Christian era or so. Therefore, Liuan-Tsang, describing the colossal statue, says that “the brilliance of the golden ornaments that covered the statue” in his days “dazzled the eyes,” but not a trace of such gilding remained in our days. The folds of the garment, in contrast to the figure itself, carved out of the rock, are made of plaster and sculpted over the stone image. Talbot, who did the most careful research, found that these folds belong to a much later era. Therefore, the statue itself must be attributed to an incomparably more ancient period than to the time of Buddhism. In this case, we may be asked, Whom do they represent?

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Once again the tradition, confirmed by the recorded records, answers this question and explains the mystery. Buddhist arhats and ascetics found these five statues and many others, now reduced to dust. Three of them, standing in colossal niches at the entrance to their future abode, they covered with clay and over the old ones they sculpted new statues that were supposed to depict the Lord Tathagata. The inner walls of the niches are covered to this day with a vivid painting of human images, and the sacred image of the Buddha is found in every group. These frescoes and ornaments - reminiscent of the Byzantine style of painting - are the pious work of hermit monks, as are some other smaller figures and ornaments carved into the rocks. But the five figures belong to the creation of the hands of the Initiates of the Fourth Race, who, after the sinking of their Continent, took refuge in the strongholds and on the peaks of the Central Asian mountain range.

Thus, the five figures are the indestructible record of the Esoteric Teaching about the gradual evolution of Races. The largest depicts the First Race of mankind, its etheric body was imprinted in a solid, indestructible stone for the edification of future generations, for otherwise the memory of it would never have survived the Atlantic Flood. The second - at £ 120. heights - depicts "Sweat-born"; and the Third - at £ 60. - perpetuates the Race, which fell and thus conceived the first physical Race, born of a father and mother, the last offspring of which is depicted in statues found on Easter Island. These were only 20 and 25 pounds. growth in the era when Lemuria was flooded, after it was almost destroyed by volcanic eruptions of underground fire.The Fourth Race was even smaller in size, albeit gigantic in comparison with our real Fifth Race, and the series ends with the last."

End of quote.

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So, if we convert feet (one foot = 30, 479 cm) to meters, then we get the following dimensions for each of the root races:

First CR (self-born) - 173 feet = 52.7 meters.

The second KR (later-born) - 120 feet = 36.6 meters.

3rd CR (Lemurians) - 60 feet = 18.3 meters

4th CR (Atlanteans) - 25 feet = 7, 6 meters.

It should be borne in mind here that the shape of the body and attire of the carved figures of the first two races may not coincide with the real bodies of the first and second root races, since according to Blavatsky, these statues were in our era covered with plaster, creating the image of the Buddha. But apparently, you just need to take into account the size of the bodies of the first two statues. It is also not clear what periods of development of the root race we are talking about - maybe about the first subraces, or maybe about the latter. But this is not so important. The main thing is to understand the principle that the root races have constantly decreased in their growth, and that the lowest point has already been passed by humanity in past centuries. Now the vector of physical development is aimed at returning to past dimensions, which can be seen today at least by the growing average height of the modern average person.

We must assume that this trend will continue - physical people of the next centuries will be taller than today's people. And if you look much further - at the end of the sixth root race, when the representatives of the last subraces of the sixth root race will incarnate in the bodies of the dense astral, then we can assume that they will be comparable to the first Lemurian races (18 meters), which were approximately the same half-etheric. semi-dense as well as the condensed astral. This assumption is supported by the fact that the next root race - the seventh - will undergo its evolution on a much larger planet than Earth - on Neptune, where large body sizes are simply necessary to somehow adapt to the gigantic dimensions of Neptune.

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