ART AND HISTORY ON THE SILK ROAD

The Mogao Caves near Duanhuang are primarily known as the repository of thousands of important Chinese texts including Buddhist sutras, Taoist manuals, Confucian studies and poetry (some of which can be read in CROSSING THE YELLOW RIVER.) The oasis town of Duanhuang at the mouth of the Gobi Desert on the ancient Silk Road received these valuable documents for over a millennium. But the unique and fascinating artistic heritage of the Mogao Caves is still virtually unknown to the educated reader. The more than 500 caves abound in treasures of religious and mythological art of astounding beauty. The wall paintings and sculptures of the cave temples represent a commentary on the changing forms and influences in Chinese art, here distilled, refined and preserved in the isolation of remote northwestern China.