In March 2001, the Taliban dynamited and destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan, a pair of monumental statues of standing Buddha that had watched over the Bamyan Valley in central Afghanistan since the sixth century. Last weekend, the statues were briefly brought back through the magic of 3D laser light projection technology.
The project was the brainchild of a Chinese millionaire couple, Janson Yu and Liyan Hu, who were saddened by the destruction of the world-famous statues. They worked to develop a special projector at a cost of $120,000, according to NDTV. Last weekend, they brought the projector to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and projected a 3D representation into the empty cliffside cavities that had housed the Buddhas for 1,500 years.
The event brought out more than 150 people who witnessed the Buddhas’ surprising return. CCTV quoted one local resident as saying, “This cannot fill the empty space of [the Buddha], but it’s something that reminds us that it is not dead.”
CCTV also reports that Yu and Hu have donated the equipment to the local department of cultural relics protection and the department will project the images of the statues every year in March.
The smaller statue stood 115 feet tall and the taller statue stood at 174 feet tall. They were both destroyed by Taliban dynamite during a three week period in 2001 after the Taliban government declared that they were idols. In the following weeks, an envoy visiting the United States also said that they were destroyed to protest international aid exclusively reserved for statue maintenance while Afghanistan was experiencing famine. The statues’ destruction sparked global outrage and over the years various countries and groups have pledged their support for rebuilding the statues.
Watch CCTV video of the super neat resurrection here:
Unbelievably, it looks like we’ve finally found a socially positive use for holograms!
by Alex Linder
[Images via CCTV & Wikicommons]