The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has reportedly stopped the unauthorized reconstruction of Buddhas in central Bamiyan province of Afghanistan.
According to reports, the action by UNESCO was taken after a group of German archaeologists from the German branch of Icomos (the International Council on Monuments and Sites) partially rebuilt the feet and legs of the smaller of the two Bamiyan Buddhas.
The reconstruction news of the Buddhas was revealed during the 12th meeting of UNESCO’s Bamiyan working group, in Orvieto, Italy, in December, the London-based The Art Newspaper reported.
Michael Petzet, who himself served as the head of Icomos from 1999 to 2008, reportedly was leading the team, who spent most last year rebuilding the smaller Buddhas lower appendages with iron rods, reinforced concrete and bricks.
Unesco’s assistant director-general for culture, Francesco Bandarin, said the operation was wrong on every leve. “Unesco has nothing to do with this project. It was undertaken without the consent of the Afghan government and has now been stopped,” Bandarin told The Art Newspaper.
In the meantime, Petzet has said that his team was funded by UNESCO and that they were just preserving what can be preserved.
Petzet also added that the Afghan authorities were informed of their operation and everything was discussed with them.
But Bandarin says that the ministry of culture of Afghanistan was not aware of the reconstruction of Buddhas by the German archaeologists team, and Icomos Germany was contracted for the construction of a platform where smaller Buddha once stood to prorect visitors from falling rocks.
The Bamiyan Buddhas were destroyed after the Taliban militants group blew up the world’s two largest standing Buddhas – one of them 165ft high, earlier in 2001.