OSAKA -- A Japanese scholar said Monday he
believes the discovery of 19 Buddha statues at an
ancient site in Iran challenges current theories
on the spread of Buddhism.
to one established theory, Buddhist statues were
first created in Gandhara, northwestern Pakistan,
in the early second century using Greek techniques
from the west that later spread eastward and
southward, said Takayasu Higuchi, professor
emeritus at Kyoto University.
the latest discovery, made in the Iranian state of
Fars, which is about 1,700 km west of Gandhara, is
quite unusual, Higuchi said.
may be possible to formulate a new theory on the
background of how Buddhism spread," he said,
suggesting the religion may have been present in
with characteristics similar to the Fars statues
have also been unearthed farther north, in eastern
Afghanistan, and Higuchi said that this could mean
Buddhism also spread west at an early stage.
19 statues, between 5 cm to 20 cm tall, are made
of clay and plaster and look similar to the
statues in Gandhara, according to Higuchi.
are partially burned and colored, but the faces
are almost intact, he said. They also bear some of
the characteristics of items found between the
first and third centuries in the state of Kusana
in northern India, he said.
examined the statues in late April, when he was
invited by Iranian authorities to go through