Large Buddha Statue Unearthed In Kyrgyzstan
Archeologists in Kyrgyzstan have unearthed a large Buddha statue, in the hills outside the capital Bishkek.
Archaelogists from the Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences, working with colleagues from the Russian Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, were digging at a site thought to be the remains of a Buddhist monastery complex.
The newly discovered Buddha statue is 1.5 metres tall (almost 5 feet), and depicts the Buddha sitting in the lotus position.
[Valery Kolchenko, Archaeologist, Kyrgyz National Academy of Sciences]:
„This sculpture is as high as two humans. If we could straighten it out and put it vertically, its height would be about four meters, as it is sitting, it’s about one-and-a-half to two meters (high).”
The Buddha statue is believed to date back to a time between the 8th to 10th century.
[Asan Torgoyev, Scientist, Oriental Studies Department of the Hermitage]:
„The excavation of this sculpture is a very laborious task, that is why we cannot date this artifact to any particular time. First of all we need to excavate it and then we can say how old it is. Currently we can date the monastery to a period from the 8th to 10th century.”
Finding Buddhist remains of this kind is rare in the mountainous regions of Kyrgyzstan.
Pre-Islamic Buddhist culture is well documented further south in Tajikistan, but very unusual in its northern neighbour, Kyrgyzstan.
Locals are accustomed to the excavations, knowing very well that their farm land is in a rich archeological area.
[Zulpihar Aliyev, Local Cattle Herder]:
„As children we collected iron things, a lot of coins, bronze and copper items here. Almost 50 years have passed since then.”
In earlier excavations at the same site near the village of Krasnaya Rechka, archaeologists have discovered remains of a Buddhist temple, a fortress, a Karakhanid palace complex, and Buddhist as well as early Christian cemeteries.