Europeans began using oil in their pictures by about 800 A.
Scientists from around the world have since embarked on a painstaking process to collect the remnants of the dynamited statues and reconstruct them.
In the meantime, researchers have found that the paint used on the Buddhas, along with murals in 12 of 50 painted Bamian caves, contained oil-based binders—the world's oldest known examples of oil paintings.
In its programs, the GCI focuses on the creation and delivery of knowledge that will benefit the professionals and organizations responsible for the conservation of the visual arts.
Since Alexander the Great, invading armies and peaceful migrations have brought in diverse peoples to this Central Asian crossroads.
As a result, Afghanistan is a country of ethnic minorities: Pashtun (38 percent), Tajik (25 percent), Hazara (19 percent), and Uzbek (6 percent).
The towering Hindu Kush range dominates and divides Afghanistan.
In 2001 the Taliban destroyed giant Buddha statues at Bamian in defiance of international efforts to save them. and Britain bombed terrorist camps in Afghanistan; by November 2001 Kabul fell to anti-Taliban forces.
Three weeks after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, D. After decades of war, Afghanistan is rebuilding its economy, which is mostly agricultural, and preparing for elections in 2004.
Researchers hope to find even earlier examples by studying other Central Asian sites.