WATCH: New Technology Brings Buddhist Statues Destroyed by the Taliban Back to Life

A Chinese couple using lighting technology in Afghanistan recovered two 6th-century Bamiyan Buddist statues demolished by the Taliban in 2001.

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Images of destroyed Bamiyan Buddhist statues recovered by Chinese with lighting technology, June 2015.
Images of destroyed Bamiyan Buddhist statues recovered by Chinese with lighting technology, June 2015. Credit: Reuters

The images of the 6th century Bamiyan Buddhist statues, destroyed 14 years ago by the Taliban, were recovered by a Chinese couple on June 6 and 7 with lighting technology in Afghanistan.

Zhang Xinyu and his wife Liang Hong are adventure enthusiasts from China.

On the two nights, they used projections to bring back the buddhas' images for eight hours.

Local people were very excited about this event. They sang and danced for the historic moment.

"It's a very historic moment for us, and I think the moment somehow reminds us of the revival of our history, something that was destroyed during the Taliban time. And we were very unhappy about that. This cannot fill the empty place of [the buddhas], but it's something that reminds us that it is not dead," said Javad a Bamiyan person.

To avoide any possible affect to the relics, they used metal halogen lamps, and added a quartz glass mask to the light source.

The couple finally voluntary donated the lighting equipment to local department of cultural relics protection, which thus decided to reproduce the images in March every year in the future.

The Bamiyan Buddhas were two 6th-century monumental statues of standing Buddhas carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamiyan valley in the Hazarajat region ofcentral Afghanistan, 230 km northwest of Kabul. Built in 507 AD (the smaller one) and 554 AD (the larger one), respectively, the statues represented the classic and blended style of Gandhara art.

They were destroyed with dynamites in March 2001 by the Taliban, on orders from their leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.

"Although it is just a piece of light, it can shine into Bamiyan and light up the Buddhas. I think it can at least tell people that once there exited a beautiful place, there exited profound culture and long history. We hope the use of lighting technology can show our respect to the culture and history," said Liang Hong.