Conference City: Dunhuang

 


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Duhuang Introduction

 

Dunhuang lies at the western end of the Hexi Corridor in Gansu Province in Northwest China, an oasis on the eastern edge of Takli- makan Desert. It is nourished by melted snow water from the Qilian Mountains. The ancient town used to be an important stop-over point on the Silk Road. The name "Dunhuang" was given in the Han Dynasty. In Chinese "Dun" means grandness and " Huang" means prosperity. In the 2nd century B.C. Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty sent imperial envoy Zhang Qian to the Western Regions, opening up a trade route which was to be known as the "Silk Road" in history.The imperial court set up Dunhuang Prefecture in A.D. 111 and Dunhuang became a strategic town. Through this route Chinese culture and products, especially silk, were introduced to European and Middle East coun tries, and foreign culture and products such as Buddhism of India came to central China. Much of Buddhism is propagated through artistic forms, which were soon assimilated into the Chinese traditional culture. The result was that many Buddhist images were carved in caves in mountain cliffs along the Silk Road. Many of them have been well preserved. The best are those at Mogao in Dunhuang. The Dunhuang Grotto Art is composed of the Cave and Yulin Grottos in Anxi. Carving of the Mogao Grottos, commonly known as 1, 000- Buddha Caves, began in AD 366 and continued through a dozen dynasties including the Northern Liang , Northern Wei, Western Wei, Northern Zhou, Sui, Tang, Five-Dynasties Period, Song, Huihe, Western Xia and Yuan. The extant 492 caves preserve more than 2, 000 color statues and 45,000 square meters of murals. The mural themes depict Buddha portraits, stories and interpretations of Buddhist scriptures, Buddhist history, legends, portraits of devotees and various decorative patterns. They describe different ethnic groups, people's lives such as nobles' outings, singing, dancing and music, farming, fishing and hunting, acrobatics and martial art practice, foreign envoys and merchants on the Silk Road. Some scholars liken these murals to a "library on the wall, " In the early 20th century some 50,000 pieces of cultural relics were found in the Scripture-Keeping Cave including handwritten documents and more than 1,000 pieces of silk painting, graphic painting , embroidery and calligraphy. Put together the art works would form a 25-kilometer-long art gallery. The Mogao Grottos were dug in loose sedimentary conglomerate of the the Quaternary Period. Some parts collapsed in earthquakes. But the dry weather has preserved the basic outlook of the cliffs. In the 1940s the Dunhuang Art Research Institute was established at Mogao. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, the new government began an overall repair and reinforcement project on 39 caves, saving 1,800 square meters of murals and 200 color statues. The Western 1,000-Buddha Cave and Yulin Grottos at Anxi have been public after renovation. Grottos in Dunhuang are a national treasure of China and a cultural heritage of the world. In 1962 the State Council put them among China's first key cultural relics under state protection and in 1991 the UNESCO put them on its list of world natural and cultural heritages. This album includes the best works representing different historical periods with brief introductions.

                

 Attraction
Crescent-Moon Pool Yumenguan Pass Ringing-Sand Hill Yulin Grottos

Dunhuang Oasisa at the western end of the Hexi Corridor was the terminal of the eastern section of the Silk Road (from Chang'an to Dunhuang) and the starting point of the middle section of the Silk Road (from Dunhuang to Congling). An administration was set up at Dunhuang in A.D. 111. Today this tourist destination attracts people with its tourist destination attracts people with its numerous historic sites such as Yumenguan Pass, ruins of Yangguan Pass, Wuwa Pond, Sanwei Mountain, Ringing-Sand Hill, Crescent-Moon Pool and the many grotto carvings and murals. The Ringing-sand Area is one of China's key tourist attractions.


Crescent-Moon Pool

Crescent-Moon Pool,known as Sand Well in ancient times, is located on the northerm slope of Ringing-Sand Hill

 

 


Yumenguan pass
The site of the Yumen Pass, 80 kilometers west from Dunhuang proper.
 

 

 

 

Ringing-Sand Hill
Ringing-Sand Hill lies six kilometers south of Dunhuang Proper.It is about 40 kilometers from east to west, 20 kilometers from south to north and 10 meters hith. When one slides down the hill the friction causes a whistling sound.
 


Yulin Grottos
The 41 caves of the Yulin Grottos, also known as 10,000-Buddha Gorge, are located about 70 kilometers south from the country seat of Anxi.