3D Reconstruction of the destroyed small Buddha of Bamiyan

  Teaser image

The Bamiyan Buddhas had been carved out of red sandstone in the 6th century and they were completely destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. Five years later the stabilization works in the Valley of Bamiyan had progressed to such an extent that a high-resolution scan measurement could be conducted of the area where the small Buddha statue used to stand. The result was a precise, photorealistic textured 3D model of the severely damaged Buddha niche as well as the adjacent cave structures at the bottom rear of the niche. In these caves the detonation was triggered in 2001. Using historic documentation and pictures the destroyed cave structures could be reconstructed by identifying original geometric features within the virtual 3D model. The 3D Model of the small Buddha statue was reconstructed using historic contour line drawings.

Together with the Virtual Reality Group the resulting 3D Model of the small Buddha statue was then optimized for the presentation in an immersive virtual 3D environment, enabling an interactive exploration in the (aix-)Cave of the RWTH Aachen University.


3D Reconstruction, Bamiyan Buddha statue, interactive exploration

Department responsible
Virtual Reality Group
Dipl.-Math Daniel Bündgens, MBA

Department of History of Urbanization, RWTH Aachen University
Institute of History of Art, Building Archaeology and Restoration, TU Vienna
Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT), Birlinghoven, Sankt Augustin
Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn

Financed by
German Embassy Kabul