The cultural gem of the Silk Road: Mogao Caves in Dunhuang, China
Carved into the cliffs above the Dachuan River, the Mogao Caves southeast of the Dunhuang oasis, Gansu Province, comprise the largest, most richly endowed, and most extended used treasure house of Buddhist art in the world.
Four hundred ninety-two caves are presently preserved, housing about 45,000 square meters of murals and more than 2,000 painted sculptures. Cave 302 of the Sui dynasty contains one of the oldest and most vivid scenes of cultural exchanges along the Silk Road, depicting a camel pulling a cart typical of trade missions of that period.
As evidence of the evolution of Buddhist art in the northwest region of China, the Mogao Caves are of unmatched historical value. These works provide abundant, vivid materials depicting various aspects of medieval politics, economics, culture, arts, religion, ethnic relations, and daily dress in western China.
The discovery of the Library Cave at the Mogao Caves in 1990, together with the tens of thousands of manuscripts and relics it contained, has been acclaimed as the world’s greatest discovery of ancient Oriental culture. This significant heritage provides an invaluable reference for studying the complex history of ancient China and Central Asia.