Islam, of course, forbids representational art. And we all saw what happened to the Buddhas of Bamiyan. More on this story. “Taliban trying to destroy Buddhist art from the Gandhara period,” from Asia News, November 27 (thanks to C. Cantoni):
Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Pakistani and foreign archaeologists have set off the alarm bell, warning that the Taliban are destroying Pakistan’s ancient Gandhara heritage, which includes some of the oldest representations of the Buddha. Because of violence, tourists shy away from the country’s northwest and local works of art are increasingly at risk of going the way of the Bamiyan Buddha statues, which the Taliban destroyed in 2001.
“Militants are the enemies of culture,’ said Abdul Nasir Khan, curator of Taxila Museum, home to one of the premier archaeological collections in Pakistan, some 20 kilometres south of Islamabad.
As one of the foremost archaeological sites in Pakistan, Taxila possesses some of the most important artefacts from the Gandhara civilisation, which peaked between the 5th century BC and the 2nd century AD.
Emerging in the wake of the conquests by Alexander the Great, the Gandhara kingdom blended Indian traditions and Hellenistic culture, with representations of the Buddha taking on human forms that resemble Greek divinities, especially the god Apollo.
“‘Even in Taxila we don’t feel safe. The local administration has warned us about a possible attack on this museum. We have taken some extra security precautions but they aren’t sufficient and we lack funds,” Khan said.
“For weeks we don’t get even a single foreign visitor. If visitors don’t come, if sites are not preserved and protected, if research stops, what do you think will be the future of archaeology?'” he noted.
Good question for Europeans to ponder.