Legendary art headed to LA

Updated: 2015-07-16 11:36

By Lia Zhu in San Francisco(China Daily USA)

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An exhibition featuring Buddhist artifacts found at the Mogao caves site in China's Dunhuang will visit Los Angeles next year.

Sponsored by East West Bank, the exhibition, titled Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China's Silk Road, will be on display at the Getty Center from May 7 to Sept 4. It is co-organized by the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Research Institute, the Dunhuang Academy and the Dunhuang Foundation.

The Mogao caves in the western Gansu province, an ancient Silk Road site dating from the fourth to 14th centuries, are famous for their statues and wall paintings, spanning 1,000 years of Buddhist art.

With their exquisite wall paintings and sculptures, the Mogao caves bear witness to the intense religious, artistic and cultural exchanges along the Silk Road, the trade route linking East and West. The caves were added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 1987.

The art and objects to be displayed reflect the diverse ideas, beliefs and artistic styles found in the temples, according to the organizers, who attended a press conference on Wednesday at the Getty Center.

Three full-sized cave replicas, hand-painted by artists at the Dunhuang Academy, will be installed in the Getty Center plaza, allowing visitors to experience the temples and learn about conservation efforts.

"This exhibition is the product of years of hard work and cooperation between the Getty Conservation Institute and their partners in Dunhuang to conserve the extraordinary legacy of the Mogao caves, arguably the most important and beautiful pictorial evidence of the transmission of Buddhism along the Silk Road," said Jim Cuno, president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust.

"Since 1989, the Dunhuang Academy and the Getty Conservation Institute have worked together on the conservation and management of the site, and in so doing have forged an enduring bond of friendship," said Wang Xudong, director of the Dunhuang Academy.

"Not only will the exhibition bring to the American public the artistic beauty of this World Heritage Site, but it will serve also as a model for international collaborations," he said.

Among the objects to be exhibited is the Diamond Sutra, a sacred Mahayana Buddhist text that dates to the year 868. On loan from the British Library, the Diamond Sutra is the world's oldest dated complete printed book. It was found in Cave 17, also known as the Library Cave, where some 50,000 objects, sealed for a millennium, were discovered in 1900.

"Now the public has the rare opportunity to see these stunning artworks from the Silk Road, including the famous Diamond Sutra, a relic of immense historical significance," said Dominic Ng, chairman and CEO of East West Bank.