Afghan Museum Repairs Buddhist Art, One Broken Piece at a Time
Experts trying to restore Afghanistan's Buddhist treasures say it is like working on a 1,500-year-old puzzle.
In 2001, the Taliban destroyed Buddhist artifacts, many of which were one thousand years old or more. The artifacts include two huge statues of Buddha in Bamyan province. Many smaller artifacts found at Buddhist religious centers and kept in the national museum of Kabul also faced destruction.
After the Taliban government fell in 2001, the museum began repairing the artifacts from the country's Buddhist history. The U.S.-supported project will try to reassemble thousands of pieces into statues within the next three years.
"It is very important (work) because it is actually restoration of our...identity, our past," said Mohammad Fahim Rahimi. He is the director of the 100-year-old National Museum of Afghanistan.
"Buddhism was...here for more than 1,000 years. That's a very large part of our history," he added.
But since the Soviet invasion of the 1980s, Afghanistan has had nearly 40 years of war and much of the country's art, artifacts and architecture has been destroyed.
Militias stole other pieces and sold them to international collectors illegally.
Sixty-two-year-old conservator Sherazuddin Saifi was working in the museum under the Taliban in 2001.
"They wanted us to tell them the number of antiquities and we ignored their request, but some days later they came and started breaking the antiquities," said Saifi. He still works at the museum.
"These antiquities are the national treasure and the history of our country and show who lived in this country," he added.
In a classroom at the museum, Afghan conservators work alongside experts from the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute. U.S. assistance is important because Afghan conservators lack experience. They also lack the necessary chemicals and equipment needed for restoration work, Rahimi said.
Sometimes they can work from old photos that show the statues as they were before the destruction. In other cases, 3-D imaging and imagination are required to reassemble pieces of Buddha faces, hands and torsos.
A spokesman for the Taliban said the group has no plans to destroy national treasures in the future.
"All antique artifacts will be (kept) in their place," spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Reuters. "They should be (kept) for the history and culture education of the upcoming generations."
The possibility of bringing the Taliban in a power-sharing deal troubles Rahimi. He is looking at ways to move the artifacts if they are threatened again.
"We cannot let that happen again to our heritage," he said.
I'm Susan Shand.
1.religious centers 宗教中心
The Negev became a religious center with many monasteries and churches.
2.national treasures 国宝
Dinosaur fossils are our national treasures.
3.culture education 文化教育
How to carry out the earth human society culture education?
4.power-sharing deal 权利分享协议
The power-sharing deal is being overtaken by events.
5.He is looking at ways to move the artifacts if they are threatened again.
looking at ways to 设法
They are looking at ways to disentangle him from this major policy decision
The group is now looking at ways to make more money from that information about its customers.
6.A spokesman for the Taliban said the group has no plans to destroy national treasures in the future.
has no plans to 没有计划做某事
He has no plans to go abroad yet, at least as far as I know.
He has no plans to settle down.
2001年，塔利班摧毁了佛教文物，其中许多文物有1000多年的历史 。这些文物包括Bamyan省的两座巨大佛像 。在佛教宗教中心发现的许多小型文物以及保存在喀布尔国家博物馆的文物也面临着破坏 。
2001年塔利班政府倒台后，这家博物馆开始修复该国佛教历史上的文物 。这一由美国资助的项目将设法在未来三年内将数千件文物碎片组装、修复 。
“这是非常重要的（任务），因为它实际上是恢复我们的身份，复原我们的历史，”Mohammad Fahim Rahimi说道 。他是这家拥有百年历史的阿富汗国家博物馆馆长 。
“这里的佛教历史长达1000多年 。这是我们历史上非常重要的一部分，”他补充道 。
62岁的管理员Sherazuddin Saifi 曾于2001年在塔利班控制下的博物馆工作 。
他说：“他们想要知道文物的数量，我们没有理会这一要求 。但是几天后，他们回来并开始破坏文物 。”他仍然在博物馆工作 。
在博物馆的一间教室里，阿富汗文物管理员与芝加哥大学东方研究所的专家一起工作 。美国的援助很重要，因为阿富汗的管理员缺乏经验 。Rahimi指出，他们也缺乏必要的化学品和设备来进行修复工作 。
有时他们可以依靠旧照片观察雕像被破坏前的模样 。在其他情况下，重新组装佛像面部、手和躯干需要三维成像技术和想象力 。
发言人Suhail Shaheen告诉路透社记者:“所有的文物都将会安然无恙 。”“它们应该被保留下来，用于下一代的历史和文化教育 。”
将塔利班纳入权力分享协议的可能性令Rahimi感到不安 。如果这些文物再次受到威胁，他正在寻找转移文物的途径 。