A 3D project of one of the destroyed Buddhas of Bamiyan (still via VOA TV Ashna)

A 3D projection of one of the destroyed Buddhas of Bamiyan (still via VOA TV Ashna)

This month the two sixth-century Buddhas of Bamiyan demolished in Afghanistan were temporarily returned to their towering places in the Bamiyan cliffs through 3D projection.

The project by Chinese couple Janson Yu and Liyan Huboth was reported on June 7 by the Khaama Press of the Afghan News Agency Network. With the clearance of both the country’s government and UNESCO, the temporary revival was the most recent consideration of how to honor the memory of the statues destroyed by the Taliban in 2001, while respecting the gaping void left by their demolition.

The taller Buddha of Bamiyan before and after the 2001 destruction (photos by UNESCO/A Lezine, via Wikimedia)

The project follows last year’s controversy when brick stabilization work was halted at one of the empty sites out of a suspicion the construction was aimed at “secretly trying to rebuild one of the statue’s feet.” Whether or not the Buddhas should be rebuilt has been of debate for over a decade since their loss. Similar to the 3D projection, in 2005 Japanese artist Hiro Yamagata proposed a laser light installation to replace their forms, each of which once stood over 100 feet tall.

Even the most elaborate of projections or meticulous reconstructions couldn’t replace those hundreds of years of history. Yet it is interesting to consider how projects like this can return some of the spirit, whether it’s Project Mosul restoring ISIS-destroyed objects with 3D printing, or even the Tribute in Light where artists Paul Myoda and Julian LaVerdiere designed the dual light beams to act as ghosts of the World Trade Center. Below you can see more stills from the 3D Buddhas of Bamiyan in a video from Al Jazeera Plus.

h/t The Atlantic

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Allison Meier

Allison C. Meier is a former staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from Oklahoma, she has been covering visual culture and overlooked history for print...

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