The Big Buddhas of Bamiyan

When I was in India in the 1970s I thought of going to Afghanistan specifically to see the great Buddhas of Bamiyan. I had the time, the money and certainly the interest. As it happens, I kept putting this trip off and in the end never got around to it. If the various schemes for resurrecting the Buddhas ever comes to pass; constructing copies, projecting some sort of hologram onto the niches where they once stood, etc. I probably won’t go. Looking at a reproduction of an original has always seemed to me to be rather pointless. For me, the great Buddhas once fascinated the world but now they’ve gone forever. Recently I browsed through Llewelyn Morgan’s Buddhas of Bamiyan, (2012, 221 pages) which despite containing nothing new and being padded with a lot of the usual commonplaces about “the Silk Road”, is not a bad account of these great ancient marvels. The ‘Further Reading’ section is excellent. The truth is that we know very little about the history of the Buddhas, hardly enough to fill a pamphlet, not enough to fill a book.



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