Taliban and the Jehanabad Buddha, Pakistan

The destruction of non-Islamic archaeological and artistic history goes on unchecked by authorities to this day in Pakistan . The damage suffered by the great Buddha image on the mountain face in Jehanabad is one of many such acts of religious bigotry and mindless vandalism directed at the greatest treasures that should be the property of the entire civilized world.

North East of Mingora in the Swat valley, a number of ancient Buddhist  reliefs and sculptures existed, the best known of which is the Shakhorai Buddha or the Jehanabad Buddha.

This colossal rock image of  the Buddha carved  on the vertical face of a  reddish hillside is spectacular. Carved in the 7th CE  in a  serene and peaceful meditative pose of Dyanamudra, the Buddha image   is particularly striking especially when surrounded by the majesty of the mountain side . The Buddha is fully robed in drapery  with the graceful clinging folds of which are visible on his seat.

In  2007, the Taliban tried to destroy the head of the relief with explosives, although fortunately the damage was only partial with  only the top part of the Buddha’s head being destroyed. The carving has since been restored by the Italian Archaeological Mission in Swat. A coating was applied to protect the damaged part of the carving in 2012, and next the face was restored in  3D using laser surveys and old photographs. Finally, it was physically restored using parts of the original that had been picked up off the valley floor. The restoration was completed in October 2016, deliberately leaving some of the damage visible



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Sizes available: 8 x 12″(203 x 305 mm); 12 x 16″(305 x 410mm); 18 x 24″(457 x 610 mm); 24 x 32″ (610 x 813mm)

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