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    The most important of these, for the past 50 years, has been the Flying Saucer.

    Of oil painting at bamyan in afghanistan predating

    Japan and Switzerland, among others, have pledged support for the rebuilding of the statues.

    An envoy visiting the United States soon after the statues were bombed said they were destroyed in protest for international aid being reserved for their maintenance while the country was coping with famine.

    Monks at the monasteries lived as hermits in small caves carved into the side of the Bamyan cliffs.

    Many of these monks embellished their caves with religious statuary and elaborate, brightly-colored frescoes.

    The larger statue was a carmine red and the smaller one was multi-colored. It is thought that while the main bodies of the statues were made of sandstone, the faces had been a great wooden mask, as in photographs holes can be seen where pegs would have fit.

    In March 2001, on orders from the Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, the two statues were dynamited and destroyed.

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