7th century Afghan oil paintings earliest discovered

Scientists working in the Bamiyan region of Afghanistan have discovered oil paintings on the walls of caves dating to the 7th centuries, 800 years before the earliest European oil paintings were created. (photos)

The caves where the paintings were found were once guarded by massive statues of Buddha, but the statues were destroyed in 2001 by the Taliban. The paintings, created by monks depict "images of Buddha in vermilion robes sitting cross-legged amid palm leaves and mythical creatures."