An Exhibit of Silk Road Art Treasures from Dunhuang Caves Coming to Bryant Sept. 27-Oct. 6
For ten days this fall, Bryant University will use virtual reality and painstakingly reconstructed replicas to bring an ancient Chinese cave and its artistic treasures to campus.
“People will be able to experience something they’d otherwise have to travel thousands of miles to a Chinese desert to see."
The exhibition, Dunhuang: An Oasis for East-West Cultural, Commercial, and Religious Exchanges Along the Ancient Silk Road opens Sept. 27 in the George E. Bello Center for Information and Technology. Bryant is the first academic institution in the United States to host this interactive exhibition. After its 10-day run at Bryant, the exhibition will travel to other U.S. colleges and universities, including the University of Maryland, University of New Hampshire, and West Virginia University. When the U.S. tour concludes, portions of the exhibit will be donated to Bryant for permanent display.
Opening ceremonies will take place September 27, and from September 28-October 6, guided tours will take visitors through the exhibition — a panoramic projection of the cave site — and into the reconstructed cave to inspect the splendid murals and statues in close range. The interactive exhibit also include virtual reality, digital imaging, and short movies. Events related to the exhibition include a series of seminars focusing on arts, culture, history, environment, and religions represented in these caves.
“We are excited to bring this exceptional exhibition to Bryant after a year of planning and preparation,” said Hong Yang, Ph.D., Vice President of International Affairs and Dr. Charles J. Smiley Chair Professor of Science and Technology. “People will be able to experience something they’d otherwise have to travel thousands of miles to a Chinese desert to see. It is truly a unique cultural opportunity, and we look forward to sharing it with the Bryant community as well as other universities, organizations, and individuals throughout the country.”
Dunhuang is an oasis located in China’s northwestern Gansu Province, more than 1,400 miles from Beijing. According to Dunhuang Academy, it was the main and only gateway to and from China on the route known as the ancient Silk Road that ran between China, Western Asia, and the sub-continent of India. For more than 1,000 years, from the 4th to 14th centuries, Dunhuang was an ancient “cultural melting pot” where different cultures and religions met, traded, and interacted. Over the centuries, it became customary for travelers to dig caves into the sides of mountains and decorate them with art, with the hope for safety and success on their long and often dangerous journeys.
The Mogao Caves at Dunhuang house one of the world’s most extensive sites of Buddhist art, containing ancient Buddhist murals, statues, silk, manuscripts, as well as arts from Islamic, Daoist, Greek, Christian, and other cultures and religions. The centerpiece of the exhibit is a replica of Cave 285 of the Mogao Caves, a visually rich 6th-century cave known for its exceptional collection of Buddhist artworks. Due to environmental and political changes these caves were buried in the sands until rediscovered a hundred years ago. It is now a world renewed culture heritage listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Dunhuang exhibition at Bryant University is made possible by a partnership between Bryant University and Dunhuang Academy and co-sponsored by the Confucius Institute Headquarters and Government of Gansu Province.
- Thursday September 28, 12:30 - 1:30 p.m., Arts in Dunhuang: Cave 285, Dr. Eugene Wang, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of Asian Art, Harvard University
- Friday September 29, 12 - 1 p.m., China’s New Silk Road Initiative, Dr. Min Ye Associate Professor of International Relations, Boston University
- Saturday September 30, 11 a.m. - 12 p.m., Digitalizing the Dunhuang Arts, Mr. Zhang Xiantang, Deputy Director, Dunhuang Academy
- Saturday, September 30, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Confucius Institute Day, Community activities are free and open to the public.
- Monday, October 2, 12 - 1 p.m., Sounds along the Silk Road: Historical and Contemporary Musical Exchange, Dr. Joan Zaretti, Lecturer, English and Cultural Studies Department, Bryant University
- Tuesday, October 3, 12:30 - 1:30 p.m., East-West Porcelain Trade and Cultural Exchange along the Ancient Silk Road, Dr. Yong Cheng, Visiting Professor, Shanghai University Asian Art Specialist Appraiser of Chinese Ancient Cera.m.ics and Porcelain
- Wednesday, October 4, 12 - 1 p.m., Environmental Change and its Impact on the Rise and Fall of the Silk Road, Dr. Qin Leng Professor of Science and Technology Bryant University
- Thursday, October 5, 12:30 - 1:30 p.m., Religious Exchanges along the Silk Road,Dr. Ja.m.es Kodera, Professor of Religion, Wellesley College