Monday, November 21, 2016

Destroyed by Taliban nine years ago, iconic “Jahanabad Buddha” is reborn

By Sam Littlefair
The fully restored Buddha in October, 2016. Photo courtesy of ISMEO Italian Archaeological Mission – ACT.
PAKISTAN---Nine years after its face was destroyed by Taliban militants, the famous Jahanabad Buddha has been restored. In six trips, each lasting a month, an Italian-led team of restorationists has given the Buddha its face back. The sculpture, a massive cliff-face carving, was widely hailed as one of the most important important pieces of Buddhist art in the region, second only to Afghanistan’s giant Bamiyan Buddhas. Those statues, which stood at 115 and 174 feet tall were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. Militants destroyed the Jahanabada Buddha in broad daylight in 2007 by drilling explosives into its face and shoulders. In 2012, the Italian Archeological Mission in Pakistan undertook the project of restoring the sculpture, located in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. [link]
Conservator Fabio Colombo, who also worked on the massive Buddhas of Bamiyan, puts final touches on the Buddha’s face. Dozens of staff worked on the project, including 20 field workers, 6 restorers, and 2 3D scanning experts. Photo courtesy of ISMEO Italian Archaeological Mission – ACT.