Oldest Oil Paintings Found in Caves

Oldest Oil Paintings Found in Caves (Photos)
<< Previous   4 of 5   Next >>
A Buddhist mural dated to around the seventh century A.D. is one of many in Afghanistan's Bamian Valley that were recently found to contain oil- and resin-based paints.

The use of the substances at such an early date is a surprise, since they require sophisticated knowledge of chemical properties, scientists say.

Oil is used in paints to help fix dyes and help them adhere to surfaces. It also changes a paint's drying time and viscosity.

Europeans began using oil in their pictures by about 800 A.D., but the new research on the Central Asian pushes back the onset of oil-based painting by at least a hundred years.

Researchers hope to find even earlier examples by studying other Central Asian sites.

 More Photos in the News
 Today's Top 15 Most Popular Stories
 Free Email Newsletter: "Focus on Photography"
—Photograph courtesy NRICPT-Japan
 
NEWS FEEDS    After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed. After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS




 

50 Drives of a Lifetime

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.