The team started work in the area five years ago, investigating ways to preserve Buddhist art in some 1,000 caves that had been ravaged over the years by the harsh natural environment, rampant looting, and the infamous explosions.
They found that about 50 of the caves were once adorned with glistening murals depicting images of Buddha, bodhisattvas, and female devotees.
Taniguchi’s collaborators used X-ray beams produced by the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France, to determine the composition and crystal structures of pigment particles in the colours.
Oldest Oil Paintings | Bamiyan, Afghanistan (National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo) An international team of conservators and archaeologists found the world's oldest-known oil paintings in a maze of caves in Afghanistan's Bamiyan Valley, where the Taliban blew up two gigantic stone Buddha statues in 2001.
But Marine Cotte of the Centre of Research and Restoration of the French Museums in Paris, a co-author of the study, is convinced of the conclusions.