March 31, 2010

Roderick Whitfield Discusses Buddhist Cave Art

As reported by the American Museum of Natural History,

As goods and people traveled along the Silk Road, many passed through the oasis city of Dunhuang, China, home to incredible caves that contain a treasure trove of Buddhist art. Roderick Whitfield, professor of Chinese and East Asian art and head of the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art at the University of London, will discuss some of these fascinating cave murals on March 31 at the Museum. He recently answered a few questions on the subject.

Why are the caves near Dunhuang so important today? What can we learn from them?

The seven hundred cave-shrines at Mogao near Dunhuang constitute the most extensive array of Buddhist wall paintings and sculptures at a single site, not only in China but anywhere in the world. The thousands of manuscripts discovered in the Library Cave provide invaluable information on Tang dynasty literature, economic and social history, medicine, music, and more that is not available from any other source. Along with well-preserved paintings on silk, most of them were taken by Western explorers in the early 20th century and are now in museums and libraries around the world.

For the entire interview and further information click here.

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