Monday Mar 03, 2008

DunHuang Grottoes

Cross posted at http://www.nomadicminds.org

The construction of DunHuang Grottoes started around 360AD and lasted over a thousand years. Buddhists transformed hundreds of caves into temples and decorated them lavishly with murals and sculptures. They imported art styles from India and mid-east. They captured ancient Chinese arts not existent anywhere else. They recorded historical customs, fashion, and even music. You can see the transformation of Buddhism from an Indian religion into a Chinese one. You can see the evolution of artistic styles over a century. You can glimpse the working of ancient societies. It is no less than a world-class wonder.

National Art Museum of China (NAMOC, 中国美术馆) is exhibiting some wonderfully made replicates. Do not let the word replicate discourage you. These are replication painstakingly done over 50 years ago by highly skilled artists. It was an once-in-a-lifetime project to replicate those arts. Walking into the exhibit room, you will think you have been transported to the real cave. If you have seen any of the Indiana Jones movies, it is as hair-raising as real.

The exhibit ends on March 21st. Take half a day off to avoid the weekend crowd. Do a bit homework to appreciate them more. It is definitely worth the 20rmb ticket and your time.

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