Earliest Oil Paintings Discovered Behind Destroyed Bamiyan Statues





Oil paintings have been found in caves behind the two ancient colossal Buddha statues destroyed in 2001 by the Taliban, suggesting that Asians — not Europeans — were the first to invent oil painting.

Many people worldwide were in shock when the Taliban destroyed the Buddha statues in the Afghan region of Bamiyan.

Behind those statues are caves decorated with paintings from the fifth to ninth centuries.

New experiments performed at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) show that the paintings were made of oil, hundreds of years before the technique emerged in Europe. The results are detailed in the peer-reviewed Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry.


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