Getty Museum (Brentwood), Los Angeles. With Gallery Exhibitions, replica caves and a virtual immersive experience in Cave 45, this is one impressive collection. On the western edge of the Gobi Desert, near the ancient oasis town of Dunhuang, China, hundreds of cave temples were carved into a cliff face and decorated with Buddhist wall paintings and sculptures. The caves are known as the Mogao (peerless) Grottoes. From the 4th to the 14th century, Dunhuang bore witness to intense religious, commercial, and cultural exchange along the trade routes linking the East and West, known collectively as the Silk Road. The documents and artifacts discovered in the site’s famed Library Cave, along with the paintings and sculptures found in almost 500 other caves, focus primarily on Buddhism. They also tell tales of the merchants, monks, and ruling families who lived, worked, and worshipped in the Dunhuang region.
Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road explores the significance of the Mogao Grottoes and highlights the more than 25 years of collaboration between the Getty Conservation Institute and the Dunhuang Academy to protect and conserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site.