On December 4 , a delegation of Japanese Buddhist Art experts which was led by Professor Akira MIYAJI gave a keynote speech called “ The Contemporary Revival of Buddhist Art” in the Second (2016) Forum of Oriental Renaissance. Tracing back Afghanistan Buddhist art academic history done by Japanese scholars, the investigation and research history and chronology of Bamiyan, mural “Clone Regeneration” technique and the chronology research on Gandhara statues.
November 17, 2016, United Nation unanimously passed a resolution calling on countries to promote “The Belt and Road” Initiative, urging the international community to build consensus to provide political, financial and security assistants to Afghanistan. The School of Art and the Institute of Renaissance Research of Renmin University of China(RUC) are responding the call. In order to make it work, we must understand Afghanistan culture. Afghanistan is regarded as the crossroad of multi-civilization, the best embodiment of its cultural identity is Buddhist Art which is naturally a window for us to know Afghanistan culture. Japanese scholars are playing leading roles in this field, so the delegation was invited to give keynote speech and discuss Afghanistan Buddhist Art and Gandhara Art. The delegation was led by professor Akira MIYAJI, one of the most important experts on Central Asia Buddhist Art research in the world, including Professor Takashi INOUE from Tokyo University of the Arts, Associate Professor Shumpei IWAI from Ryukoku University, Assistant Professor Satoshi NAIKI from Kyoto University and Dr. SHAW Xuecheng who is the Specially-appointed Research Fellow of Institute of Buddhist Art Research of RUC. Professor DING Fang, the Dean of School of Art RUC addressed the speech and discussed some key issues on Afghanistan with Professor MIYAJI and Professor INOUE.
Fig.2 The Specially-appointed Research Fellow of Institute of Buddhist Art Research of RUC, Dr. SHAW Xuecheng is giving a presentation
The keynote speech was hosted by Dr. SHAW Xuecheng, and he firstly gave a presentation called Transition from China to Central Asia: A Scholarly Review of the Japanese Researches on the Buddhist Art in Afghanistan after World War II (1945 - 2012), which was about the academic achievements of Japanese scholars, the reason why Japanese started to work on Central Asia Buddhist art and the valuable contributions made by them to the academic realm.
Fig.3 Professor Akira MIYAJI from Ryukoku University is giving a presentation
The topic of Professor Akira MIYAJI’s presentation was The History of Bāmiyān Studies: Look back on My Practice at Bāmiyān. The speech presented the Japanese academic achievements on Bamiyan, including the analyzing of investigations done by European and Japanese missions before Taliban destroyed Bamiyan Buddha, and the preservation and restoration work done by Japanese and UN after Bamiyan was destroyed. What’s more, according to the results of C14 test on Bamiyan murals, Japanese scholars reconfirmed a clearer and more precise chronology of the murals. Buddhist manuscripts excavated in this area were discussed as well.
During 1969 to 1978, professor MIYAJI had been on field investigating missions to Bamiyan for many times. He thoroughly researched and reviewed the expedition history, archaeological missions and art history research of European and American scholars, and made key breakthroughs on iconographical and chronological research of Bamiyan Buddhist Art.
Fig.4 Associate Professor Shumpei IWAI from Ryukoku University is giving a presentation
The topic of Associate Professor Shumpei IWAI’s presentation was Date of the Bamiyan Caves and the Ground-based Temples. He introduced two cases of chronological study. One case is a ground-based structure which is located in Ju-yi Shahr area excavated by National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Japan (NRICP). A pottery sherd partly polished and painted with black lines from the bottom layer of the platform indicated the date of the structure was around 6th century CE. The other case is on reconfirming the date of gallery A9 in the ground-based temple in front of the east side of the main cliff excavated by Prof. Tarzi. As five gold dinars of Kidara excavated from a bench-like platform for Buddha statues in front of parinirvana Buddha and some numismatists assume that this type of dinar had continued to be struck until the late 5th century at the earliest. According to the data and the date of other Buddhist temples, the gallery A9 with parinirvana Buddha might belong to the period later than what professor Tarzi reported as late 4th century CE.
Fig.5 Assistant Professor Satoshi NAIKI from Kyoto University is giving a presentation
内记理助教授发表了题为《关于四个犍陀罗铭文雕刻佛像的年代学》的演讲。介绍了在犍陀罗地区发现的四尊年代顺序一直存在争议的带有年代铭文的雕像，分别是：1）斯卡拉赫·特里的诃利帝母立像；2）巴拉杜·特里的立佛；3）莫玛内·特里的禅定佛；4）洛里延·唐盖的立佛。根据考古资料和风格学，内记博士找到了雕像的风格与其所处时期有对应关系，并结合对阿泽斯纪年的最新研究成果以及其在印度西北部出土的大多数铭文资料，最终确定这四尊雕像的年代依次为公元132/3, 237/8, 242/3, 271/2年。
Assistant Professor Satoshi NAIKI gave a presentation on Four Gandhāran Sculptures with Inscriptions Including Dates. He introduced four Gandhara statutes:1) a standing Hāritī statue found at Skārah Dherī, 2) a standing Buddha statue found at Pālātū Dherī, 3) a “meditating Buddha in Indrasāra cave” sculpture found at Mamāne Dherī, and 4) a standing Buddha statue found at Loriyan Tangai, which are considered to have controversial dates. According to archaeological data and stylistics research, Dr. NAIKI discovered it is possible to assign these sculptures to particular periods, by calculating these dates with the Azes era, these inscribed sculptures can be dated to 132/3, 237/8, 242/3, 271/2 CE respectively.
Fig.6 Professor Takashi INOUE from Tokyo University of the Arts is giving a presentation
Professor Takashi INOUE gave a presentation on The Lost Cultural Heritage of Afghanistan: The Challenge of Reproducing the Mural Painting on the Ceiling above the Head of the East Great Buddha Niche of Bamiyan. He displayed the recovered mural made by Tokyo University of the Arts and the videos of the exhibition, and gave an introduction on the “Clone Regeneration” technique used to recover the mural, which is a combination of high precision techniques and traditional restoration techniques, aiming at representing the lost murals along the Silk Road, providing the technique to Silk Road countries and protesting terrorism. Moreover, a museum symbolizing peace has been designed by Japanese and to be constructed in Bamiyan. The museum has three functions: save digital archives on Bamiyan, display murals reproduced by “Clone Regenration” technique, and an 8K cinema.
图7 讨论与问答（左起: 邵学成、岩井俊平、宫治昭、丁方、井上隆史、李艳梅、内记理）
Fig.7 Discussion and Q&A (from left, SHAW Xuecheng, Shumpei IWAI, Akira MIYAJI, DING Fang, Takishi INOUE, LI Yanmei, Satoshi NAIKI)
After the keynote speech, the audiences and experts carried on a Q&A interaction about the technical procedure of “Clone Regeneration”, material research, multi-religions embodied in Bamiyan murals, standards and suggestions on selecting cultural heritages to recover and the reasons and motivations that drive experts to devote themselves to Bamiyan research.
This forum is the very first one that focus on Japanese academic achievements on Afghanistan in China, which basically combed through the recent cultural researches and archaeological progressions of foreign experts, comprehensively reviewed the researches done by foreign experts on Afghanistan cultural characteristics. It not only provided a good model on how to understand local cultural identities for the boost of “The Belt and Road” Initiative, but also laid a solid foundation for our future studies in this region.
（中国人民大学艺术学院供稿 Contributed by School of Art,RUC）