Buddhist wall paintings pre-date western technique

Researchers studying 5th-9th century Buddhist cave paintings in the Afghan region of Bamiyan have learned that the paintings used an oil technique, centuries before the same technique was used in Europe.

Scientists from Japan, France and the United States used  a "combination of synchrotron techniques such as infrared micro-spectroscopy, micro X-ray fluorescence, micro X-ray absorption spectroscopy or micro X-ray diffraction" to determine the composition of the paint. "This is the earliest clear example of oil paintings in the world, although drying oils were already used by ancient Romans and Egyptians, but only as medicines and cosmetics", explains Yoko Taniguchi, leader of the team.