Situated at the crossroads of the world’s oldest trade routes and populated by a mosaic of cultures, Afghanistan has been the theatre of repeated conflicts over its long and complex history. In the midst of the warfare and civil unrest that ravaged this ancient land during the last two decades of the twentieth century, hundreds of precious artefacts were plundered from the collections of the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul. The destruction of these irreplaceable treasures – like the much-publicized Bamiyan Buddhas destroyed in 2001 – represents a tremendous loss not only for the people of Afghanistan but for all of humanity.
With the aim of keeping alive the memory of the museum’s scattered collections for future generations, Francine Tissot has compiled over a period of several decades a systematic listing of the holdings as they were conserved in the museum’s showcases and reserve collections until 1985. This comprehensive catalogue, illustrated with over 1,600 photographs and drawings, will be of paramount importance in helping Afghanistan rehabilitate its historical memory and retrieve its lost masterpieces.