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Between Cult and Culture: Bamiyan, Islamic Iconoclasm, and the Museum

Finbarr Barry Flood
The Art Bulletin
Vol. 84, No. 4 (Dec., 2002), pp. 641-659
Published by: College Art Association
DOI: 10.2307/3177288
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3177288
Page Count: 19
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Between Cult and Culture: Bamiyan, Islamic Iconoclasm, and the Museum
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Abstract

This article uses the recent controversy regarding the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas as a paradigm to challenge essentializing notions of an "Islamic" response to the image. Beginning with a history of premodern iconoclastic practice in the Islamic world, it explores the reception of the Bamiyan Buddhas in light of evidence for a complex range of responses to Buddhist and Hindu images in Afghanistan. Finally, it relates the destruction of Buddhist antiquities in 2001 not to a timeless theology of images but to the role of the museum as the locus of a secular iconolatry characteristic of the modern nation-state.

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