Experiencing the Mogao Caves
- PUBLISHED: December 2022
- SUBJECT LISTING: Art History / Asian Art, Asian Studies / China
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 381 Pages, 7 x 10 in, 188 color illus., 1 map, 2 tables
- ISBN: 9780295750200
Constructed over a millennium from the fourth to fourteenth centuries CE near Dunhuang, an ancient border town along the Silk Road in northwest China, the Mogao Caves comprise the largest, most continuously created, and best-preserved treasure trove of Buddhist art in the world. Previous overviews of the art of Dunhuang have traced the caves' unilinear history. This book examines the caves from the perspective of space, treating them as physical and historical sites that can be approached, entered, and understood sensually. It prioritizes the actual experiences of the people of the past who built and used the caves.
Five spatial contexts provide rich material for analysis: Dunhuang as a multicultural historic place; the Mogao Cave complex as an evolving entity; the interior space of caves; interaction of the visual program with architectural space; and pictorial space within wall paintings that draws viewers into an otherworldly time. With its novel approach to this repository of religious art, Spatial Dunhuang will be a must-read for anyone interested in Buddhist art and for visitors to Dunhuang.
Authors & Contributors
Wu Hung is Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor in Chinese Art History at the University of Chicago. He is the author of fifteen books and anthologies, including Story of Ruins: Presence and Absence in Chinese Art and Visual Culture and Contemporary Chinese Art: A History.
A highly original and refreshing work. . . . [This] book is going to be a go-to volume for readers curious about the Mogao Caves as a local community effort.- Eugene Wang, author of Shaping the Lotus Sutra: Buddhist Visual Culture in Medieval China
A major concern of contemporary scholars is the lack of a book that can tell an interesting story about the history of the art of Mogao. . . . [Wu Hung] writes one that is easy to read and at the same time offers an intellectual framework to approach the subject at both macro and micro levels.- Hsueh-man Shen, author of Authentic Replicas: Buddhist Art in Medieval China