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Prof. Dr. S. Decker
RWTH Aachen
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Physical revitalization of the Eastern Buddha statue in Bamiyan using reinforced adobe material

Year 2020
Abstract URL view
ISBN-13 978-3-030-51316-0

The magnitude of destruction on cultural heritage worldwide creates unprecedented challenges for its rehabilitation since conservation activities must be integrated into the context of larger rehabilitation efforts. It is argued that an authentic remodelling of the Eastern 38 m Buddha establishing the previous spatial configuration of the figure has to integrate the original fragments, combining scientific analysis of the figure's original physical remains with the careful interpretation of the existing documented sources. The authors propose a phased approach using a composite material matrix based on silt-clay close to the original cliff conglomerate embedding also the original fragments. The presented community-based rebuilding intervention executed by local artisans and artists conceptualizes on the evolution of the figurative meaning of the monument over time with the overall objective to use traditional building techniques to retain tangible and intangible values that maintain the authenticity and the specific significance and spirit of this place. The result has the potential to contribute to a necessary reconciliation process. It may serve as an exemplary case in World Heritage context able to bridge different cultural approaches to heritage among regional, national, and international bodies and stakeholders while respecting diverse values, meanings and the Buddha figure's original physical remains alike.

Published in

In Masanori Nagaoka (ed.): The Future of the Bamiyan Buddha Statues , p. 307-329 ; Springer International Publishing .

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