Oil Painting Originated In Asia, Buddhist Cave Paintings Suggest
“This is the earliest clear example of oil paintings in the world, although drying oils were already used by ancient Romans and Egyptians, but only as medicines and cosmetics."
Thus spoke Yoko Taniguchi concerning the discovery in caves behind previously destroyed Buddhist statues in Afghanistan of what are now considered to be the oldest oil paintings in the world. The caves are in the region of Bamiyan, approximately 140 miles northwest of Kabul.
An array of 50 caves was researched and 12 of the caves contained Buddhist paintings on their walls which have now been scientifically dated to the 7th Century. The caves were carved out of sandstone cliffs in the 6th Century.
Before now, oil painting has been believed to be a European invention of the 15th Century.
Scientists researching the paintings have concluded that they were probably the creations of travelers on the Silk Road. Walnut and poppyseed oils, among other materials including egg whites, were used to create the oil-based paints.
Scientists, utilizing a combination of detection techniques, identified original ingredients as well as alteration compounds. The multi-layered paintings also included some layers made of natural resins, proteins, gums, and, resinous layer resembling varnish.
"Due to political reasons, research on paintings in Central Asia is scarce...we hope that future research may provide deeper understanding of the painting techniques along the Silk Road and the Eurasian area", Taniguchi went on to say.
Crouching monkeys and Buddhas draped in vermilion robes surrounded by mythic creatures are among the paintings' motifs. The Buddha referred to the common, unilluminated mind as "the monkey mind".
One of the central tenets of Buddhism is that most people do not observe life objectively and therefore do not see it for what it really is. They become attached to delusions, illusions, and mere words without understanding their meanings, and this attachment to what is false or wrong causes suffering.
Buddhist teachings say that while pain is inevitable, suffering is not. Suffering is the clinging to the false, the illusion, the delusional. Because of the clinging attachment, when pain experienced it cannot be let go of once it passes, but instead gets relived over and over.
Many in the West, including many who have undertaken the practice of Buddhism, believe that Buddhism teaches the dissolution of the ego, or the sense of Selfhood, but this idea is in itself a harmful delusion. Buddhism emerged in a culture vastly different in certain fundamental ways from that of the Western world, and within that culture the "ego" actually was undifferentiated, unable to separate from a total identification with rigid societal norms, traditions, and class divisions. It was this "ego", embodied in the Japanese word kokutai, that Siddharta taught liberation from. For Westerners this would make no sense whatsoever, and following that path can lead to insanity.
Tags: Buddhist , Paintings , Cave , Oil , Asia , Afghanistan
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