& CULTURAL NEWS OF IRANIAN WORLD©
Researchers Discovered a Sasanian Mural in Bamiyan'
26 July 2006
(CAIS) -- Japanese researchers said Tuesday they found a
seventh-century painting of a mythological Iranian bird in Bamiyan ruins, in
former Iranian province of Kabulistan (in what is today known as Afghanistan).
According to AFP, the team unearthed an image of what appears to be a Simorgh,
the giant and powerful bird that figures prominently in ancient Iran.
The faded painting emerged after Japanese researchers removed soot from a
Buddhist cave in Bamiyan.
“This is the first time a vivid image of this creature was confirmed“ in
Bamiyan, an expert involved in the project at Japan’s National Research
Institute for Cultural Properties told AFP.
“This image shows that Iranian myth and Persian views were reflected in
Bamiyan Buddhism. It indicates the influence of people from Sogd, the areas
north of Afghanistan which covers what are now modern states of Uzbekistan and
Tajikistan,“ he said.
However, the Japanese team called for more research, saying that some believe
the image could instead be a Griffin from Greek mythology. Alexander II, the
Macedonian warlord conquered that part of the Persian Empire in the fourth
The picture portrays the creature with an eagle’s head, wings and a lion’s
torso of gold, silver, blue and red facing off with a bull. Inside the same
cave, researchers also found a design of a boar and a lion facing each other.
Boar's head in pre-Zoroastrian-Iranian traditions, represents an incarnation of
the god of war and victory, Verethraghna, and in Zoroastrian religion is an iconographic
symbol of divinity of strength and valor.
of similar images have been found in other caves and areas. But this is the
first time we see so many pictures of animals in one place,“ said the
researcher, who did not want his name used for the group project.
The Japanese team employed a special chemical to remove the soot without harming
the mural in June and July. It also used the project to train Afghan workers.
Japanese researchers have spearheaded the drive to preserve what is left of
Bamiyan. The Western' backed Taliban regime, ignoring international protests,
dynamited two 1,500-year-old Buddhist statues carved into the sandstone cliffs
of Bamiyan in March 2001, branding them as un-Islamic.