During the dark days following the Japanese invasion of China in the 1930s a group of young artists and intellectuals, many of whom had lived and trained in the west, moved to Dunhaung, and set up the first study groups in modern times.
Their lives were very hard, and it sometimes led to the break up of families and homes, but many persisted and through their endeavours finally after the war in the 1940s the Dunhuang Academy of Arts was founded.
These young Chinese scholars were among the brightest of their generation, and included Chang Shuhon, Yu Youren, Zhang Daqian, Xiang Du and Wang Ziyun, and many of their disciples also.
It is really thanks to their efforts that when minds were on other problems during reconstruction that a place was found for supporting the arts also, and eventually the Mogoa caves became an inspiration for a generation of artists in the New China.
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