Afghanistan Art has spanned many centuries and has a great history and heritage of more than 5,000 years. One of the most famous Afghan art eras is the Gandhara between the 1st and 7th century. It was based on Greco-Buddhist art and examples were found at the Kabul Museum and National Gallery.
Afghanistan art has a unique heritage but during the three decades of war and conflict much of the arts were stolen from Afghanistan and smuggled mostly to Pakistan but also to Iran and neighboring countries.
The remaining objects have been destroyed by the Taliban including the Bamyan Buddha statues and as well as some many arts and sculptures from the Kabul Museum. After the establishment of the new Afghan government in 2002, the government has put more time and attention to research and discover the heritage and art of Afghanistan.
Fortunately after extensive research, the Afghan government succeeded to find the 228 extraordinary artifacts from underground the Presidential Palace in 2004. After these artifacts were dramatically discovered, people were overjoyed at the revelation that the items were still intact after 30 years of the conflict.
These ancient arts which spanned from a time of 2,000 years: from 2200 BC to AD 200 included gold bowls with artistic links to Mesopotamia from Teppa Fullol in northern Afghanistan; Bronze and stone sculptures from the site of the former Greek city of Aïe Khanum in northern, Bronzes, ivory decorative items, painted glassware imported from Roman and Indian markets discovered in Bagram of Kabul, and more than 100 gold ornaments. After announcing this huge discovery of the arts from underground of Presidential Palace, the afghan government put them in a tour with some other art that was found in the country. The tour was started in the U.S. and for the first time it was shown in an exhibition by the name of “Silk Road” in National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Now the Hidden Treasures of Afghanistan art is in tour and will appear in different exhibitions in the world and afterward the objects will be returned to Afghanistan and will be kept in Kabul National Museum.
The main place for producing arts in Afghanistan was the Faculty Fine Arts which is originally built in 1985 under Soviet patronage, however since it's establishment nothing left up right and the restoring place for arts was the Kabul museum. In 1996 when the Taliban regime came to power, they have banned the faculty of Fine Arts and all the departments including music, painting, theater and cinema were closed. During the half decade of darkness and ignorance of the Taliban governance, the door of arts were shut and students or in general people were not allowed to participate in art classes and they destroyed all the music instruments and art supplies any where they have found.
After the collapse of the Taliban regime, the door of faculty of Fine Arts reopened and students have found the chance to rejoin in their favorite art departments and study their favorite subjects. Since the reopening of faculty of fine arts in 2002 under the structure of Kabul University, hundreds of students accepted to study in different departments, but due to lack of supplies and professional educators, students suffer for wasting their time.
Lately some art supplies and music instruments have been donated for the music and painting departments of fine arts faculty by donor countries to solve the problems of students as well as Guite-Institute tries to bring professional artists to work with Afghan professors and students to teach new art techniques.
Now faculty of Fine Arts has several art departments such as:
Theater and Cinema Department
Sculpture making Department
Ceramic design Department
Since the 1900s Afghanistan began to use western techniques in art and craft making. Some well known forms of Afghanistan art and crafts are:
Carpet & Rugs,
Theatre and Film,
Afghanistan is known for making beautiful oriental hand made rugs and the art of making carpets has been prominent for centuries in the region. Both carpets and rugs have certain prints that make them unique to Afghanistan.
For more information about arts and crafts as well as music & films of Afghanistan, please click on the links or type your specific keyword on the search box.
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