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Preserving the Legacy of Buddhist Caves

NewsChina, Chinese Edition April 3, 2023

By NewsChina Updated Jun.1

The frescoes, sculptures and Buddhist scriptures found in caves and grottoes in China’s northwestern Gansu and central Henan provinces were both witness to and the result of the entry and spread of Buddhism from India to China through the Silk Road from the late 2nd century BCE. Early frescoes and scriptures feature strong influences of Greek art. Integrating with the artistic style of China’s Tang and Northern Song dynasties from the 7th to the 12th century, they depict people’s lives at that time. These grottoes were deserted after China’s political and economic centers moved south, and were only rediscovered accidentally in the early 1900s. Many of the artifacts were taken away by smugglers and foreign explorers. Now research into the grottoes is bringing Chinese and foreign scholars together. The grottoes will someday perish, and the preservationists’ duty is to postpone that as long as possible. Digital archiving will help preserve the cultural heritage for future generations.