The Dunhaung Caves are located in the eastern end of the Gobi desert and have some of the finest Buddhist art produced on the Silk Road over a period of 1,000 years.
There are hundreds of caves in the complex including something like 45,000 square metres of murals, thousands of statues and other artifacts.
Tonight’s talks were given at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. The first talk is by Mimi Gates, a Director Emerita of the Seattle Art Museum, who helped form a support group, the Dunhuang Foundation.
Mimi gives an excellent overview of the situation of the caves both historically and culturally, before introducing Fan Jinshi, the current Director of the Dunhuang Academy, which oversees the conservation work at the site.
Fan Jinshi talks not only about the work that is being undertaken but also about her own personal journey and some of the difficulties she had to overcome when she first visited the site.
The Dunhuang Caves, being one of the most famous repositories of Buddhist art in the world has attracted ever growing numbers of visitors every year, and this has created its own problems.
Under Fan Jinshi the Academy is now in the forefront of digitalisation of the treasures at the caves, so they can be presented to people without the caves themselves being damaged by too much visitation.
At the end of the talks I have included another video showing the famous Chinese artist Zhang Daqian’s copies of some of the Dunhuang Frescoes.
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