A mural from the Bamian cave Foladi 6 has been dated to the eighth century A.D. Its artists used an oil-based paint, scientists say, in an early example of mixing organic binding agents with pigments.
The murals were painted using a structured, multilayered technique reminiscent of early European methods, according to researcher Yoko Taniguchi of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation in Tokyo.
The painters first applied a white base layer of a lead compound. Then an upper layernatural or artificial pigments mixed with either resins or walnut or poppy seed drying oilswas added.
"The discovery of the use of oil [in Afghanistan] is important, because it shows that these undervalued paintings are far more important and far more sophisticated than anyone might have thought," said Sharon Cather, a wall-painting expert from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.
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Photograph courtesy NRICPT-Japan