208 pages with 150 colour and 75 black-and-white illustrations
Nearly a thousand years ago, a magnificent collection of Buddhist paintings, textiles and manuscripts was walled up in a cave at Dunhuang in western China. Although the cave was rediscovered about 1900, it was not until 1907 that the archaeologist Marc Aurel Stein recognised the significance of these fine images on silk and paper from Tang and Five Dynasties China. Many of the paintings came to the British Museum where conservation has continued for decades. The most striking and important works are illustrated here and range from large banners of paradise scenes to miniature sutra books and sumptuous textiles. There are also fine votive pictures reproduced by the newly discovered art of printing. In addition, the book includes furniture, sculpture and other items collected by Stein from sites in Central Asia, Many of the works of art are so fragile that they are rarely exhibited, yet their vigorous beauty has survived a thousand years, making the collection one of the most important in the world.
Published by British Museum Publications 1st Edition, 1990
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