The still-vibrant frescos were produced by monks of the kingdom of Kucha between the 4th and 7th centuries AD, and were intended as a focus for pilgrimage and prayer. As Reza’s book illustrates, they depict scenes from Buddhist mythology, including the story of the Buddha Shakyamuni and his previous lives. From the pages leap flying angels, malicious demons, noble princes, musicians, hunters, and ordinary people, that are at once astonishing and utterly compelling.
This article is an extract from the full article published in World Archaeology Issue 11. Click here to subscribe