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UNESCO Safeguarding Project - II

by Mohammad Reza Sharifi last modified Aug 15, 2012 12:18 AM

--> Preparation of Preliminary Master Plan

It was considered essential to develop a Master Plan to ensure the overall preservation of this large site. National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo (NRICP), has carried out archaeological soundings and exploration of the Bamiyan valley and its surroundings in order to specify the archaeological zone and the cultural area to be protected from settlements, agriculture and town development and so on. As a next step, it is essential to develop the Master Plan on the basis of NRICP’s input and in incorporation it into national legislation. The German University of Aachen cooperates in this field under founding provided by government of Germany through INCOMOS.

--> Preservation of Mural Paintings

Professor Akira Miayaji and Kosaku Maeda, who made the full inventory of these important Buddhist paintings in the 1970s, participated in the preparation mission in October 2002. Their analysis was that 80 to 85% of the paintings have disappeared during the war, through neglect theft and voluntary destruction. NRICP has documented and recorded the remaining mural paintings in the Buddhist caves. All fragments of paintings scattered on the floors have been collected, inventoried and conserved. The access to 25 selected important caves closed with walls and locked doors. Armed guards have been hired to protect the site. It is important to note that since these measures were taken no further thefts took place. Further analysis of the fragments is required to develop a plan for their long term conservation.

--> Consolidation of Cliffs and Niches

Die to the imminent risk of collapse of the upper Eastern part of the Small Buddha niche and the overall instability of both niches, the consolidation of the cliffs and niches was a priority task, as they shape the general appearance of the site and contain the original staircases and several caves. The backs of the two niches still include remains of the Buddha, such as arms and shoulders. No scaffolding could be placed in front of the Small Buddha niche, due to the slope and the loose ground. It was therefore decided to work with mountain climbers. In autumn 2003 and spring 2004, the Italian firm RODIO successfully implemented the first phase of emergency consolidation. The emergency stabilization of the remaining areas at both niches now has to be ensured.

--> Conservation of Fragments

One particular difficulty in conserving the fragments of the Buddha is the large size of some of the fragments and steep slope in front of the Small Buddha. Two ICOMOS expert missions organized by Aachen University of a total of four months were dispatched to Bamiyan in June and October 2004. A protective shelter for conservation of the fragments of the Large Buddha statues was constructed. The experts started to clear the niched of the fragments and to store them in shelters. Bearing in mind that the stone material, which holds important information on the history of Buddha statues, is decaying rapidly, it is essential to continue the conservation of fragments during the coming years.

--> Topographical Maps and 3-Dimensional Model of Bamiyan

The Japanese company PASCO has successfully produced a map and a 3 dimensional relief model of the site. All experts involved in the Bamiyan project appreciated its high quality.

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