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Close-range imaging, long-range vision

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A.Gruen, F.Remondino, L.Zhang
Institute of Geodesy and Photogrammetry
ETH Zurich, Switzerland
e-mail: @geod.baug.ethz.ch
Commission V
KEYWORDS: Cultural Heritage, Orientation, Matching, 3D Reconstruction, Surface modeling, Visualization, Photo-realism
In the valley of Bamiyan, Afghanistan, ca 2000 years ago, two big standing Buddha statues were carved out of the sedimentary rock
of the region. They were 53 and 35 meters high and the Great one figured as the tallest representations of a standing Buddha. In
March 2601 the Taleban militia demolished the colossal statues, as they were considered an insult to Islam. After the destruction, a
consortium was established to rebuild the Great Buddha of Bamiyan at original shape, size and place. Our group did the computer
reconstruction of the statue, which will serve as a basis for the physical reconstruction. The work is done in parallel with three
different data sets of images and in this paper we report the first results of the 3-D reconstruction of the Great Buddha.
In the great valley of Bamiyan, 200 km north-east of Kabul,
Afghanistan, two big standing Buddha statues were carved out
of the sedimentary rock of the region, at 2500 meters of
altitude. The Emperor Kanishka ordered their construction
around the second century AD. Some descendants of Greek
artists who went to Afghanistan with Alexander the Great
started the construction that lasted till the fourth century AD.
The town of Bamiyan, situated in the middle of the Silk Route,
was one of the major Buddhist centres from the second century
up to the time that Islam entered the valley in the ninth century.
The larger statue was 53 metres high while the smaller Buddha
measured 35 m. They were cut from the sandstone cliffs and
they were covered with mud and straw mixture to model the
expression of the face, the hands and the folds of the robe. To
simulate these folds of the dress, cords were draped down onto
the body and were attached with wooden pegs. The lower parts
of their arms were constructed on wooden armatures while the
upper parts of the faces were made as wooden masks. The two
giants were painted in gold and other colours and they were
decorated with dazzling ornaments. They are considered the
first series of colossal cult images in Buddhist art.
The two statues were demolished on March 2001 by the
Taleban, using mortars, dynamite, anti-aircraft weapons and
rockets. The Buddhists, the world community, ONU and
UNESCO failed to convince the Taleban to leave such works of
cultural heritage.
After the destruction, a consortium was established with the
goal to rebuild the Great Buddha of Bamiyan at original shape,
size and place. This initiative is lead by the global heritage
Internet society New7Wonders, with its founder Bernard Weber
and the Afghanistan Institute & Museum, Bubendorf
(Switzerland), with its director Paul Bucherer. Our group has
volunteered to perform the required computer reconstruction,
which will serve as a basis for the physical reconstruction.
Using our model, first a statue at 1/10 of the original size will
be built and displayed in the Afghanistan Museum in
Switzerland. This will be used to study materials and
construction techniques to be applied in the final rebuilding at
full size.
In this paper we present the first results of the reconstruction of
the 3-D model of the Great Buddha of Bamiyan.
The work is done using three different types of imagery in
1. a set of images acquired on the Internet (amateur images);
2. three metric images acquired in Bamiyan in 1970 by Prof.
Kostka, Technical University of Graz [Kostka, 1974];
3. a set of touristic images acquired by Harald Baumgartner
who visited the valley of Bamiyan between 1965 and 1969.
We are still processing the third data set, while results from the
first two are already available. The reconstruction is performed
with automatic and manual procedures. Only the computer
model generated with the manual measurements on the metric
images will be used for the physical reconstruction of the Great
Buddha, but in this paper we report all the results of the first
two data sets.

Figure 1: The Great Buddha of Bamiyan before the
destruction (left); the explosion of March 2001 (center)
and the rests after the destruction (right).
The reconstruction process consists of phototriangulation
(calibration, orientation and bundle adjustment), image
coordinate measurement (automatic matching or manual
procedure), point cloud and surface generation, texture mapping
and visualization.
Out of the 15 images found on the Internet, four of these were
selected for the processing (Figure 2 - A, B, C, D): two in front
of the big Buddha, one from the left side and one from the right
side of the statue. All others were not suitable for
photogrammetric processing because of very low image quality,
occlusions or small image scale.