IDP News Issue No. 47/48
- The British Library and the Dunhuang Academy: Ten Years of Working Together to Bring Dunhuang to All
- 大英图书馆与敦煌研究院： 十年合作向众人展现出敦
- The Future of the Dunhuang Academy
- A Brief History of the Dunhuang Academy
- Digitisation at the Dunhuang Academy
- Journey to the West: Dunhuang Material in London
- Forthcoming Initiatives on Dunhuang in Europe and the US
- Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road
- Tangut Conservation and Digitisation
- Obituary: Dr Abraham S-T Lue MBE CMG FKC
- Recent Publications
- Exhibitions and Conferences
- IDP Worldwide
- IDP UK
IDP members at the IDP Business Meeting, hosted by the Dunhuang Academy in 2011.
This double issue of IDP News celebrates the past ten years of collaboration on IDP between the British Library and the Dunhuang Academy, with bilingual articles on the Academy and its work by the Director, Deputy Director and other colleagues. We also celebrate the summer exhibition on Dunhuang at the Getty Center and look forward to events inspired by Dunhuang planned for the next few years. As Director Wang Xudong says in his article, we hope that ‘these activities of protection, research and dissimination of Dunhuang culture will help us live in harmony!’
本期“IDP消息”合刊特别庆祝大英图书馆IDP项目与敦煌研究院长达10年时间的的合作， 刊登了来自敦煌研究院及其院长、副院长、以及其他同事的双语新闻稿。同时， 我们也祝贺在美国盖蒂中心举办的夏季敦煌展并期待在敦煌的启发之下，未来数年里项目的发展。正如王旭东院长在他的文章中所讲到的，我们都愿：“敦煌文化的保护、研究、弘扬事业为人类的和谐共处贡献力量。”
Staff from the Dunhuang Academy and the British Library together with students participating in the 2008 educational workshop at Dunhuang organised with Ford Foundation funding.
The British Library and the Dunhuang Academy Ten Years of Working Together to Bring Dunhuang to All
Susan Whitfield, Director, The International Dunhuang Project
My first visit to Dunhuang was in spring 1984, and I little expected then that it would become such a focus of my life and work — nor, indeed, that it would become such a major tourist attraction. It was well over a decade before I had the opportunity to visit again. This was after the International Dunhuang Project (IDP) had been established by institutions worldwide and I was coordinating the collaboration from the British Library.
All IDP’s partners felt it was essential to work together with the Dunhuang Academy (DHA) and over the next few years we were delighted to build relationships with the Director (now Director Emeritus) Fan Jinshi and many of the staff and scholars there. In 2000 we hosted Director Fan, Professor Shi Pingting and other colleagues in London (IDP News 14 & 15) and again in 2004, when we displayed one of the replica caves at the British Library Silk Road exhibition (pictured below). This led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2006 covering the establishment of the DHA IDP website and a DHA studio to photograph the manuscripts held at the DHA and at other institutions in Gansu Province (see p. 5). Our collaboration came under the excellent direction of Luo Huaqing at DHA. In 2009 we welcomed the DHA photographer Sheng Yanhai to the British Library to train together with our photographers and he continues to carry out high quality work at Dunhuang, by 2016 having created 3,000 images of manuscripts for inclusion on IDP.
Among the highlights of our joint activities over the past decade have been educational workshops for Dunhuang and London schoolchildren (October 2008 and April 2009, see IDP News 31 & 33 and pictured below). The Library provided images for exhibitions held at the DHA and has hosted many interns and scholars in the British Library. The DHA also organised the first, and very successful, IDP Business Meeting in October 2011 (IDP News 38.
It has been gratifying to see the success of the DHA in implementing plans for coping with greatly increasing visitor numbers, and especially the successful opening of the Visitors’ Centre (IDP News 44). We were also very pleased to welcome Wang Xudong as the new director and are delighted that he will be speaking at the IDP annual lecture at the British Library in November 2016 to celebrate our ten years of working together.
It has been an immense pleasure and honour to have the opportunity to work closely with the DHA over the past decade. I look forward to us continuing our collaboration and to the success of many more joint activities over the next decade to promote the wonderful legacy of Dunhuang to a new generation. In that, we particularly welcome Digital Dunhuang (see p.5), and look forward to being able to contribute to this exciting initiative.
Left: Director Emeritus Fan Jinshi with Lynne Brindley, then
CEO of the British Library,
at the opening of the
Silk Road exhibition at the
British Library in 2004.
Right: Students at the IDP-DHA educational workshop on astronomy held at the Dunhuang Academy in 2009.
Left: Digitisation of Cave 55 at Dunhuang Mogao. Photographer: Sun Zhijun. Courtesy The Dunhuang Academy.
Right: The Digital Dunhuang Exhibition: High definition murals’ pavilion. Courtesy The Dunhuang Academy.
魏泓， 国际敦煌项目， 主任
国际敦煌项目的所有成员一致认为与敦煌研究院 的合作非常重要，于是在随后的几年里我们很高兴与樊锦诗院长（现在是名誉院长）以及敦煌研究院的许多员工建立了联系。2000年我们在伦敦接待了樊院长、施娉婷女士及其他同行（IDP新闻第14&15期）。2004年，大英图书馆举办的丝绸之路展上展出了敦煌研究院其中的一个复制洞窟，使得双方有机会再次会面。以这两次事件为铺垫，2006年双方签署了一个合作备忘录，内容包括建立一个敦煌研究院国际敦煌项目网站（idp.dha.ac.cn）以及一个敦煌研究院的工作组，负责拍摄那些保存在敦煌研究院及甘肃省其它机构的写卷 （也见第五页）。双方的合作在罗华庆的杰出指导下顺利展开。2009年，我方欢迎敦煌研究院的摄影师盛䶮海来到大英图书馆与我们的摄影师一起接受专业培训，此后，他一直从事敦煌研究院的高清照片拍摄工作，至2016年，国际敦煌项目已经收录其3,000张有关敦煌写卷的照片。
Luo Huaqing speaking at an IDP educational workshop at the Dunhuang Academy funded by the Ford Foundation in 2008.
The Future of the Dunhuang Academy
Wang Xudong, Director, The Dunhuang Academy
Over the past seven decades, the Dunhuang Academy (DHA) has been shaped by the energies of former generations and its successes are many. Whether in the field of cultural heritage preservation, culture promotion, or visitor management, it has become a model in China and enjoys a strong reputation abroad.
However, there is still a long way to go. In the future we will maintain and further expand international and national cooperation, with a broader perspective and more open minds, in order to extend the pioneering work done so far on Dunhuang cave conservation, research and promotion.
In the field of cave conservation, we will gradually reach a new level in moving from rescue conservation to preventive conservation and we will develop a risk monitoring and early warning system, following risk management principles. At the same time we will accelerate the implementation of the Digital Dunhuang project, to preserve the caves and their content. We also want to develop our research and development skills in the conservation of cultural relics, as well as our efforts in the management of World Cultural Heritage preservation, so that the results can be spread to the protection of cultural heritage along the Silk Road.
As regards research, we will use the Digital Dunhuang repository to share digital resources as fully as possible, attracting scholars from different disciplines and countries, and placing Dunhuang studies in the wider context of research on the Silk Road and exchanges between world cultures. With the support of relevant foundations, we will in due course implement an exchange programme for international scholars in Dunhuang Studies, thus making Dunhuang a centre for international cultural exchange, and fully exploiting its historical, artistic and scientific value to contribute to today’s cultural exchanges between regions, peoples and religions, and to the world’s cultural diversity. Within the next 10 to 15 years, we plan to position the DHA as a global platform for research on Dunhuang studies and heritage conservation. To achieve this objective, we need strength and ongoing help from the community.
In terms of promotion, we will build on full preservation and in-depth research to dissiminate Dunhuang art and culture, so that this World Cultural Heritage site can foster peace, cultural exchanges and mutual learning between today’s cultures. We want to improve the visitor experience; as well as actively bringing Dunhuang to classrooms and community centres.
The collaboration between the DHA and the British Library’s International Dunhuang Project (IDP) is celebrating its tenth anniversary. It has yielded attention-catching results, making important contributions to research, promotion, conservation in Dunhuang studies. Now more than ever, Digital Dunhuang is a project that both parties focus on in the hope that we will be able to digitise and share globally all existing collections and each country’s archaeological finds from Dunhuang’s Library Cave. Let us hope that these activities of protection, research and dissimination of Dunhuang culture will help us live in harmony!
敦煌研究院 副院长 罗华庆
A Brief History of the Dunhuang Academy
Luo Huaqing, Deputy Director, The Dunhuang Academy
In 1943, at the initiative of Yu Youren, Xiang Da and other public figures, the Ministry of Education of the then government of China decided to set up the Dunhuang Art Institute at the Dunhuang Mogao caves, appointing Chang Shuhong as deputy director of the organising committee. When the Dunhuang Art Institute was established in January 1944, Chang Shuhong became its director and the Mogao Caves were nationalised. In August 1945, the Dunhuang Art Institute was placed under the aegis of Academia Sinica.
In 1950, the Ministry of Culture of the Northwest Military and Political Committee took over government of the region and it was renamed the Dunhuang Cultural Relics Research Institute. It was placed under the direct management of the State Bureau of Cultural Relics of the Ministry of Culture. Its working principles were conservation, research and promotion, and departments of conservation, art, archaeology and information were established with supporting offices. In 1961, the Mogao caves (including the Western Thousand Buddha Caves) and the Yulin caves were listed as National Key Cultural Units by the State Council. In 1979, the Mogao caves officially opened to the outside world.
In 1984, the Provincial Party Committee and Provincial Government of Gansu decided to develop and expand the Dunhuang Cultural Relics Research Institute into the Dunhuang Academy (DHA), naming Wu Jian chief adviser, Chang Shuhong honorary director and Duan Wenjie director. In 1987, the Mogao caves were inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Today the DHA ensures the conservation, research, promotion and management of this world cultural heritage site, its subsidiary the Western Thousand Buddha caves, and the Yulin caves (a nationally protected key cultural unit in Guazhou).
Thanks to the dedication and hard work of several generations represented by Chang Shuhong, Duan Wenjie, Fan Jinshi and Wang Xudong, the Dunhuang Academy now possesses an extensive scientific research contingent. Characterised by its wide scope and influence both at home and abroad, the Dunhuang Academy has blossomed into a World Cultural Heritage site museum, a research centre on conservation technique projects for the nation’s ancient murals and earthen ruins, as well as the largest entity for research into Dunhuang studies.
Digitisation at the Dunhuang Academy
Heritage Digitisation Institute, The Dunhuang Academy
Above: Abby Baker of IDP UK training staff at the Dunhuang Academy in 2009.
Below: Sheng Yanhai, The Dunhuang Academy, photographing manuscripts for adding to the IDP online database.
The Dunhuang Academy introduced digital technologies in the 1990s in order to create a permanent archive of the Dunhuang Caves. In 2006, it officially established a partnership with IDP at the British Library. Following a decade of exploration and research, IDP had become a model of manuscript digitisation and made many achievements. In 2013, the DHA completed the first digitisation phase of Dunhuang Chinese material within Gansu province, and uploaded all content onto the British Library’s IDP website. Work continues.
In mural digitisation, the Dunhuang Academy has overcome all sorts of difficulties relating to the environment through scientific research, such as image capture, large image stitching, browsing and data storage. It has mastered key technologies to carry out mural digitisation projects and has accumulated a wealth of experience. Thanks to collaboration, it has achieved 3D reconstruction and 3D printed reproduction of the painted sculptures.
To date, the Dunhuang Academy has captured digital images for 129 caves, processed photographs for 42 caves, and delivered a panoramic tour programme for 101 caves. This represents more than 45,000 images. On 1 May 2016 it released for the first time high quality 360 panoramic digital images of thirty of the Dunhuang Mogao caves. In the field of digital research, the Dunhuang Academy has assumed responsibility for tasks for several national research programmes, such as those with the National Science and Technology Support Programme, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, and the Gansu Provincial Bureau of Cultural Relics. This has resulted in considerable achievements in terms of academic research and staff training.
The results of our digitisation work have enabled us to hold the show ‘Digital Dunhuang: Dunhuang Art Beyond the Mogao Caves’, and to win the Gansu Province Promotion of Ideological and Cultural Work Innovation Award for 2014. We also participated in the China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair in 2013, 2015 and 2016; and contributed to the second edition of the China—South East Asia High-level Dialogue in Bali, Indonesia. On 1 June 2016, the Digital Dunhuang Pavilion was crowned booth of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan National Science and Technology Innovation Achievement Exhibition. A perfect illustration of the integration of art with science and technology, it was highly regarded by the country’s leaders and was even better received by the general public.
Journey to the West
Dunhuang Material in London
The Dunhuang material that can be found in London collections roughly falls under four different categories: manuscripts, paintings, artefacts, and textiles. Its history is closely linked to the dynamics of the expeditions of Sir Marc Aurel Stein in Central Asia, and to the past of the institutions where it is currently housed: the British Library, British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum.
Sir Marc Aurel Stein (1862 - 1943) was a Hungarian-British archaeologist, who is famous for exploring Central Asian sites along the Silk Road at the beginning of the twentieth century. Stein visited the Mogao Caves, situated near the oasis town of Dunhuang, during his second and third expeditions, in 1907 and 1914. On both occasions, he obtained a significant number of items from Cave 17, which had been discovered a few years earlier by the local caretaker, a Daoist monk named Wang Yuanlu.
Probably sealed in the early eleventh century, this hidden library contained thousands of documents and manuscripts. Most were religious works, including Buddhist, Jewish, Nestorian, Daoist and Confucian texts; and many languages were represented, such as Chinese, Sanskrit, Tibetan and Uighur. Hundreds of beautiful paintings and textiles had also been placed there. As well as giving insights into the development of Buddhist art, this material also sheds light on the religious and secular landscape of northwestern China and Central Asia from the fourth to eleventh centuries.
Stein also recovered some Buddhist artefacts and manuscripts which came from different caves. In total, he purchased 24 cases of manuscripts and four cases of paintings and other objects during his first trip to Dunhuang, then acquiring some more from Abbot Wang when he returned in 1914. All of his ‘finds’ were sent to London to be studied, catalogued, photographed and published. Stein had control over the sorting and listing of the collections before they were distributed to India and Great Britain, the two countries that sponsored his expeditions.
Stein’s second expedition was jointly funded by the Govenment of India, which covered two-thirds of the total expenses, and by the British Museum. In exchange, he promised to collect archaeological and textual pieces for them, on the understanding that the material would be split proportionally. The third expedition was entirely financed by India, with the intention of sending all the recovered items to a new museum in New Delhi (now the National Museum of New Delhi). Representative specimens and ‘literary remains’ were, however, to be presented to the British Museum.
When the question of the division of the collections re-emerged after the First World War, it was decided that they would be allocated on the basis of type, style, and language. As a result, wall paintings, embroideries, graphic works, and other 3D artefacts were spread between the National Museum in Delhi and the British Museum’s Department of Oriental Antiquities. Textual material in Chinese, Sogdian, Old Turkic and Uighur was deposited at British Museum’s Department of Oriental Prints and Manuscripts, while the rest, mainly in Sanskrit, Khotanese and Tibetan, was given to the India Office Library. The partition was further complicated by the fact that many documents had inscriptions in different languages.
In 1973, the British Museum’s library became part of the newly established British Library. Non-textual material — with a few exceptions — remained in the British Museum, which houses over 300 paintings on silk, hemps and paper, some textiles, as well as other artefacts like wooden sculptures and terracotta figures. The manuscripts, including scrolls with their silk attachments, were transferred to the British Library. In 1982, they were joined by the manuscripts from the India Office Library, that were also relocated to the British Library’s Oriental Collections.
The Victoria and Albert Museum did not contribute financially to any of Stein’s explorations, but applied for a long-term deposit. It is currently the custodian of an important collection of textile fragments, ceramics and Buddhist art objects from the Silk Road, on loan from the Government of India and the Archaeological Survey of India. The V&A thus holds a large number of textiles from Dunhuang Cave 17. These include both sacred and domestic items, such as plain and patterned woven silks, painted Buddhist banners and canopies, and wrappers for Buddhist texts.
Mélodie Doumy is IDP Curator and Researcher at the British Library.
- ‘Catalogue and Photographs of the Sir Aurel Stein Papers in the British Museum Central Archives.’ Prepared by Helen Wang, February 2004 (unpublished).
- Wang, Helen. Aurel Stein, The British Museum and the India Office.’ In S. Whitfield and U. Sims-Williams, eds. The Silk Road. Trade, Travel, War and Faith: 91-96. London: The British Library 2004.
- Wang, Helen (ed.) Sir Aurel Stein. Proceedings of the British Museum Study Day 2002. London: British Museum Occasional Paper 142, 2004.
- Wang, Helen. Money on the Silk Road. The Evidence from Eastern Central Asia to c. AD 800. London, British Museum Press 2004.
- Wang, Helen and Perkins, John (eds.). Handbook to the Collections of Sir Aurel Stein in the UK. London: British Museum Occasional Paper 129, 1999.
- Whitfield, Susan. Aurel Stein on the Silk Road. London, British Museum Press 2004.
- Wilson, Verity. ‘Early Textiles from Central Asia: approaches to study with reference to the Stein Loan Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.’ Textile History 26.1 (1995): 23–52.
- Zhao Feng (ed.). Textiles from Dunhuang in UK Collections. Shanghai: Donghua University Press 2007.
Forthcoming Initiatives on Dunhuang in Europe and the US
Peter Sellars at the entrance to the Dunhuang exhibition at the Getty. Photo: Sarah Waldorf. © J. Paul Getty Trust. All rights reserved.
The next few years promise an exciting and innovative programme of Dunhuang events in Europe and North America.
The Dunhuang Foundation US, one of the forces behind the Getty exhibition, is now working with leading cultural figures to bring the Dunhuang legacy to a much wider audience. These include the composer and conductor Tan Dun, who is working on a new symphonic composition inspired by the Dunhuang manuscripts and murals. Tan Dun visited IDP at the British Library in 2016 to view some of the rare Dunhuang manuscripts relating to music and dance.
For more than twenty years theatre and opera director Peter Sellars has been studying the Vimalakirti Sutra, scenes of which are well-represented in the Dunhuang cave temples. He is now collaborating with artists, composers, and Buddhist scholars to stage a full-scale production that is anticipated to premiere in 2020.
The British Museum, the British Library, King’s College London, and the Confucius Institute, London, are also planning a series of events in the UK to accompany the musical events mentioned above, but also other events, such as film screenings and exhibitions, which will bring Dunhuang and its legacy to a wider audience.
In London the Prince’s School for Traditional Arts recently signed an agreement with the Dunhuang Academy and the Dunhuang Culture Promotion Foundation to extend its work in China.
Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road
The Getty Center, LA
7 May — 4 September 2016
The 2016 Dunhuang exhibition at the Getty Centre, organised with the Dunhuang Academy, has been greatly successful in raising the profile of Dunhuang in North America, attracting well over 100,000 visitors in its first two months to both the display of paintings and manuscripts from Dunhuang, as well as three replica caves. The exhibition celebrated over 25 years of collaboration between the Getty Conservation Institute and the Dunhuang Academy.
The exhibition was organised jointly by the Getty Conservation Institute and the Getty Research Center and comprised three parts: replica caves (caves 275, 285 and 320), a virtual immersive experience including a stereoscopic display of Cave 45, and a gallery exhibit of original paintings, manuscripts and statues. It was complemented by a full series of supporting events, including lectures, musical performances and more.
An international symposium was held at the Getty Center and UCLA on 20-21 May in honour of the Director Emeritus of the Dunhuang Academy, Fan Jinshi. Speakers included those involved in the exhibition from the USA and China, with both Fan Jinshi and Wang Xudong representing the Dunhuang Academy, as well as leading scholars from universities and lending institutions, among them IDP partners from Paris (see IDP Worldwide).
Videos of the presentations are available on the Getty website.
Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road
Neville Agnew, Marcia Reed and Tevvy Ball (eds.)
The Getty Conservation Institute and the Getty Research Institute: Los Angeles 2016
HB, 302 pp. 192 colour, 25 b/w ill. $59.95
Since their discovery in 1914, some of the paper fragments from Kharakoto have remained untouched, still wrapped in the local paper used to collect and transport them at the time. Thought to be ‘unrecoverable’, they have survived in the very poor condition in which they were found and with no conservation treatment until today. Preliminary examination showed various layers of excavated fragmentary material, consisting of paper documents with residues of sand and other organic matter, such as plant fibres and textiles.
Sand and dust were removed before treatment to avoid their sinking into the paper fibres and staining the documents. Once the sand was cleaned off using a soft brush, the bundles were separated into smaller parts. Each of the fragments composing the bundle was then carefully unfolded, sometimes containing numerous layers of tightly compressed paper. This painstaking task was done using fine tweezers, while also acclimatising the fragments to higher humidity to make their fibres more flexible.
After conditioning and unfolding the fragments, all items were lightly pressed to remove any remaining creases. The main objective of conservation is to repair the material and stabilise it in order to prevent further fragmentation. Japanese paper tabs were used to this end, and pasted with wheat starch. Repairs were placed along weaker surfaces and as connectors to bridge detached areas. Choosing this technique meant that all repairs are easily reversible and distinguishable from the original material.
With only a portion of the material yet treated, the bundles have already produced a considerable quantity of material.* Despite their fragmentary condition, many texts have been recovered written in Tangut script. Traces of drawings and woodblock prints have also been found along with fragments of silk and other textiles.
Vania Assis is IDP Conservator at the British Library.
* Note: the material is being catalogued in the Or.12381 sequence.
The second stage of the Tangut digitisation is now complete, with almost 8000 images online on IDP and a copy sent to Ningxia Archives. Professor Nie Hongyin has made preliminary identification of over 1000 fragments to date and will be working together with other international scholars.
IDP and Ningxia Archives are now seeking funds to complete Stages 3 and 4. Stage 3 will include the remainder of the previously catalogued material in the Or.12380 sequence, over 1000 items. Stage 4 will comprise the material newly conserved by Vania Assis and in the Or.12381 sequence — total numbers of items as yet unknown. We would hope to resume this digitisation in 2017 if funds are forthcoming. Any contribution to this work will be gratefully received.
Dr Abraham S-T Lue MBE CMG FKC
Chairman of IDP Patrons, 1994–2016
7 January 1930 – 28 April 2016
It was with immense sadness that we learned of the death, after a long illness stoically fought, of Abraham Sek-Tong Lue. Dr Lue was Chairman of the IDP Patrons and had been involved in our work since its inception. He was always a strong advocate for IDP’s vision and had become a very good friend.
Dr Lue was born in Jamaica in 1939 and educated at King George V school in Hong Kong. He came to London for his BSc in mathematics, awarded by University College London in 1960, and then moved to King’s College, London for his doctorate in Algebra, awarded in 1965. He took up a teaching post at King’s in 1967, remaining there for over thirty years. He became Assistant Principal from 1986 to 1992, Fellow of King’s College London (FKC) in 1993 and , after his retirement, Assistant Principal Emeritus in 2006. During this period he played an active role in promoting Chinese-UK relations and in establishing schemes to bring Chinese scholars to the UK, securing 22 scholarships for students from Hong Kong and China to study at King’s. In 2010 a former student endowed the ‘Dr Abraham Lue Lectureship in Chinese Entrepreneurship’ at King’s.
In recognition of his work, Dr Lue was awarded honorary professorships at several Chinese universities and also acted as an adviser to the Guangdong Higher Education Commission. His services to the Chinese community in London — he helped found the Euston Chinese School and the Chinese Community Centre in London, acting as Chairman from 1980–1996 — was the basis for his MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List of 1984.
In 1985 Dr Lue was instrumental in establishing the K. C. Wong Education Foundation which has worked with the British Academy, the Royal Society, the University of Hong Kong and others to enable over 10,000 Chinese students to study abroad. In 1993 he was European Representative of the Foundation when he read a report from one of the Fellows, Professor Ning Ke of the History Department, Beijing Normal University. Professor Ning had visited the British Library to work on the non-Buddhist manuscripts from Dunhuang and his report was the catalyst that lead Dr Lue to become involved in Dunhuang and its legacy. With his help, funds were secured from the Sino-British Fellowship Trust to enable a pilot project to determine the scope for conserving and researching the manuscripts. This was to lead to the conservation and photography of all the previously unnumbered manuscript fragments from Dunhuang.
The British Library also proposed a conference to bring together, for the first time, curators and conservators from all the major collections of Dunhuang and Turfan manuscripts worldwide. Dr Lue sponsored this himself, supplementing the funds with a bursary from the Ko Ho Ning Memorial Trust — his wife Adaline’s family charitable trust, named after her grandfather. It was as a result of this conference that IDP was established in early 1994, and Dr Lue was the obvious candidate to become Chairman of this ambitious international collaboration.
His enthusiasm for Dunhuang and belief in IDP’s vision did not diminish during more than twenty years of his involvement. He was always proud to report that he had been asked about Dunhuang when he went to receive his CMG, awarded in the New Year Honours of 1998. He was always on hand to help with advice and support, during both good and more difficult times. He chaired the 2015 meeting with his usual calm authority despite his advancing illness.
In 2014 we filmed him for a series on the IDP Patrons. He spoke fluently and enthusiastically about his involvement with IDP showing, as ever, his professionalism, keen intelligence, enthusiasm and humanity. It was both a pleasure and an honour to have known Dr Lue and he will remain part of IDP and its success.
The Three Hares: A Curiosity Worth Regarding
Tom Greeves, Sue Andrew, Chris Chapman
Skerryvore: South Molton 2016
HB. 368 pp. colour b&w ill. £30
La Fabrique du Lisible: la mise en texte des manuscripts de la Chine ancienne et médiévale
J-P Drège and C. Moretti (eds.)
Collège de France: Institut des hautes études chinoises: Paris 2014
PB, 420 pp., colour b&w ill., €69
The Silk Roads: A New History of the World
Bloomsbury Publishing: London 2015
HB/PB/ePub, 656 pp.,£30, £10.99, £9,99
The Eastern Silk Roads Story: 2015 Conference Proceedings
UNESCO: France 2016
Chang Shuhong: Chinese Painter (1904-1994) from Paris to Dunhuang
Zimmermann Printing House 2011
PB, 48 pp., colour b&w ill., €15
Tibetan Printing: Comparison, Continuities and Change
Hildegard Diemberger, Franz-Karl Ehrhard and Peter Kornicki (eds.)
Brill: Leiden and Boston 2016
HB. 596 pp. illus. €199
Transfer of Buddhism Across Central Asian Networks (7th to 13th Centuries)
Carmen Mienert (ed.)
Brill: Leiden and Boston 2016
HB. 333 pp. €126
Translating Chinese Tradition and Teaching Tangut Culture: Manuscripts and Printed Books from Khara-khoto
de Gruyter: Berlin 2015
HB and Open Access pdf/epub,
€109.95, $154.00, £82.99
ISBN: 9783110453959 (pdf), 9783110453164 (epub), 9783110444063 (print)
The Study of Medical Manuscripts Excavated in Xinjiang Province
Wang Xinyi, Duan Yishan (eds.)
Shanghai Scientific Publishers:
HB, 490 pp. illus. CNY498
Tibetan Texts from Khara-khoto in The Stein Collection of the British Library
Tsuguhito Takeuchi and Maho Iuchi
The Toyo Bunko: Tokyo 2016
PB, 562 pp. Not for sale
Sanskrit, Gāndhāri and Bactrian Manuscripts in the Hirayama Collection: Facsmile Edition
Tatsushi Tamai (ed.)
The International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology, Soka University: Tokyo 2016
PB, 138 pp. colour illus.
Mahāyāna Texts: Prajñāpāramitā Texts (1) Gilgit Manuscripts in the National Archives of India: Facsimile Edition Volume II.1
Seishi Karashima et. al, editors
The National Archives of India and the International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology, Soka University: New Delhi and Tokyo: 2016
HB, 260 pp, colour ill.
Tibetan Literary Texts and Documents Concerning Chinese Turkestan
Liu Zhong and Yang Ge (trans.)
Minzu Publishers: Beijing 2003
Old Tibetan Manuscripts from Xinjiang in the British Library
Yang Ge, Gonpo Tashi, Sonam Tsering
Xinjiang People’s Publishing: Urumqi 2014
PB, 562 pp. colour, B/w ill., CHY89
Old Tibetan Contracts from Dunhuang and the Western Regions
Tsuguhito Takeuchi (ed.)
Xinjiang People’s Publishing: Urumqi 2016
PB, 430 pp. colour, B/w ill., CHY81
Dunhuang Manuscripts and Medical Books in Tang China
Kadokawa: Tokyo 2015
See also p.9 for details of the catalogue accompanying the Dunhuang exhibition at the Getty and p. 14 for recent publications in the Turfantexte series.
Manuscript Studies 1.1
Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies
This new journal aims to bring together scholarship from around the world and across disciplines related to the study of pre-modern manuscript books and documents. This peer-reviewed journal is open to contributions that rely on both traditional methodologies of manuscript study and those that explore the potential of new ones. We publish articles that engage in a larger conversation on manuscript culture and its continued relevance in today’s world and highlight the value of manuscript evidence in understanding our shared cultural and intellectual heritage. Studies that incorporate digital methodologies to further understanding of the physical and conceptual structures of the manuscript book are encouraged. A separate section, entitled Annotations, features research in progress and digital project reports.
The editors are now accepting submissions for the Fall 2017 issue. To submit, please send a cover page with your name and contact info, the title of the submission and a short abstract along with your submission to email@example.com. For more information and to subscribe, go to the Penn Press website.
We are delighted to announce that the first issue is available online through Project Muse.
If you are interested in proposing a special issue for 2018 and beyond, please contact Lynn Ransom, Managing Editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manuscript Cultures 8 2015
Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Hamburg
The Silk Road 13 2015
Dan Waugh, ed.
ISSN: 21527327 (print) 21532060 (online)
Exhibitions and Conferences
The Ruins of Kočo: Traces of Wooden Architecture on the Ancient Silk Road
Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
7 September 2016 - 8 January 2017
More than a century after the return of the last Berlin researchers from Central Asia (1914) great discoveries are still to be made among finds of the past. The Turfan Collection in Berlin includes many wooden architectural elements from the northern Silk Road, especially from Kočo (Gaochang/Karakhoja). These often large and very well preserved objects from the 6th to the 13th centuries had previously not attracted much attention.
The exhibition presents the results of a project funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation in 2014-15. It focuses on three ruins in Kočo where the most important examples of wooden architectural elements were found. These can be divided into two clear groups: carved, showing the influence of Hellenistic art; and painted with remarkably well preserved colours. The latter could be reconstructed for the first time into a Chinese type gate structure painted in the Uygur style.
During a fieldtrip in 2015 our museum team identified the exact GPS coordinates of the locations from which the photos of the Turfan Expeditions were taken over a century ago, and so changes in preservation can be documented. Unfortunately due to the intense use of this area for agriculture up to the 1980s some of the buildings have disappeared almost without trace.
A publication about the research results will be released later this year.
World of Silk: International Silk Art Exhibition
China National Silk Museum, Hangzhou
5 September–5 December 2016
World of Silk: Symposium
China National Silk Museum, Hangzhou
21–24 September 2016
Shanhe Xu, email@example.com
Irene Lu, firstname.lastname@example.org
Exhibition: The Silk Road and the World’s Civilizations
Beijing Art Biennale
National Art Museum of China
24 September–15 October 2017
Exhibition: Histories of Science and Photography in Sweden
Lanskrona Museum, Sweden
16 June 2016–29 January 2017
Contains some of Sven Hedin’s panoramas. See p. 15 for further information.
Second Conference: The International Association for Silk Road Studies
26–29 September 2016
Conference: Protagonists of the Silk Road
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
6–17 November 2016
The conference, organized by the Confucius Institute of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, the Department of History of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and Beijing Language and Culture University, aims to bring together scholars from difference countries who will be able to exchange ideas and research on various aspects of the history of the Silk Road from a prospective of World History.
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
Via Carducci 28/30, 20123 Milano
tel. +39 02 7234 5226
National Library of China
NLC provided two new iMacs to IDP NLC studio in the Spring 2016. With these new machines, images can now be manipulated more efficiently.
As of July 2016, IDP NLC studio had uploaded more than 150,000 images onto the IDP database. They have digitized more than 4,200 Dunhuang manuscripts, thus completing the digitisation of over 25% of the NLC Dunhuang manuscripts collection.
Liu Bo and his colleagues marked up the bibliography A Index for the Reference of Dunhuang Manuscripts in British and France Collections, which was compiled by Mrs. Shen Guomei and Li Defan and published by the NLC Press in 2009.
Between January and July 2016, two scholars from the Dunhuang Academy, Lu Ai and Yuan Deling, visited the British Library to research Chinese Dunhuang manuscript copies of the Vimalakirti Sutra — around 300 manuscripts — as well as Buddhist sutras with colophons. They prepared a draft report.
In addition, they also viewed Dunhuang material in the British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum, in order to compile data for their article ‘An Overview of Dunhuang artefacts in the British Museum and in the Victoria and Albert Museum.’
They are grateful to the staff of the British Library’s Asian and African Studies Room for their help and professionalism.
La Bibliothèque nationale de France
In December 2015, Romain Lefèvre presented his research on fragments Or.12380/3860(A) and (B) (pictured above) from the British Library, in the context of the collaboration between IDP and the BnF on Tangut/Xixia material. This comprehensive study and analysis will be published later this year in a volume compiling the proceeds of the Conference, held at Hamburg University, Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures.
In addition, Romain Lefèvre is currently working on cataloguing the Maurice Courant Collection at the BnF, in partnership with Shandong University, and is also planning to update all the Library’s captions relating to Tangut material.
Both the BnF and the Musée Guimet lent material for the Dunhuang exhibition at the Getty Centre and Nathalie Monnet (BnF, pictured above right) and Valérie Zaleski (MG, pictured below right) presented papers at the symposium.
In February 2016, the Turfanforschung at the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities held a special Collegium Turfanicum entitled ‘From India to Turfan’ to celebrate Dr. Lore Sander’s 80th birthday. Dr. Sander is one of the most famous Berliner Indologists and her work is strongly connected with the Berlin Turfan Collection. Professor Jens-Uwe Hartmann’s opening keynote was followed by a talk on ‘The revision of a critical edition of the Āṭānāṭika-Sūtra’ by Dr. Siglinde Dietz, and a lecture about ‘Looking for clues of Kočo’s former wooden architecture at Ruins Q’ by Dr. Ines Konczak-Nagel. From 22 August to 2 September 2016, the Turfanforschung at the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities organised a summer school around the topic ‘Sogdians and Turks on the Silk Road’. This introduction to the field of Turfan Studies dealt with the many languages and scripts used along the Silk Road as well as the histories and cultures of those who used them.
For a forthcoming exhibition by the Museum of Asian Art see Exhibitions and Conferences.
Also see below for recent publications in the Turfantexte series.
A Study of the Buddhist Sūtra called Säkiz Yükmäk Yaruq or Säkiz Törlügin Yarumïš in Old Turkic Berliner Turfantexte XXXIII
Brepols: Turnhout 2015
PB, 319 pp., 12 b/w ill., €80.
Altuigurische Aparimitāyus-Literatur und kleinere tantrische Texte Berliner Turfantexte XXXVI
Brepols: Turnhout 2016
PB, 234 pp., 10 b/w ill., €65
Buddhistische Erzählungen aus dem alten Zentralasien. Edition der altuigurischen Daśakarmapathāvadānamālā. Berliner Turfantexte XXXVII
Brepols: Turnhout 2016
PB, 3 vols. 1688 pp., 250 b/w ill., €200
The Berlin Chinese Text U 5335 Written in Uyghur Script: A Reconstruction of the Inherited Uighur Pronunciation of Chinese Berliner Turfantexte XXXIV
M. Shōgaito, S. Fujishiro, N. Ohsaki, M. Sugahara, A. Yakup
Brepols: Turnhout 2015
PB, 215 pp., 41 b/w ill., €65.
The Life of Serapion and other Christian Sogdian texts from the manuscripts E25 and E26 Berliner Turfantexte XXXV
N. Sims-Williams (ed.)
Brepols: Turnhout 2015
PB, 298 pp., 11 b/w ill., €80
The Research Center for World Buddhist Cultures, Ryukoku University (RCWBC) was launched in 2015. This centre aims to contribute to academic research on Buddhist philosophy, history, and culture. RCWBC continues the academic activities and achievements of the Research Society for Central Asian Cultures (Saiiki Bunka Kenkyukai) founded in 1953.
On 18 November 2016, an international symposium, ‘The Current Situation and Issues as for the Digitization of Materials Excavated in Central Asia’, will be held at Ryukoku University. We are pleased to invite Dr. Susan Whitfield as keynote speaker.
This year, we will publish the fourth catalogue of manuscripts of Chinese Buddhist texts collected by German expeditions. This is a fruit of the long term cooperation with VOHD and BBAW.
A workshop was held on 4 July with Professor Nie Hongyin discussing ‘Buddhism Among the Xixia Tanguts.’
To celebrate the 90th anniversaries of the birth of two outstanding Dunhuang scholars, Lev Nikolayevich Menshchikov (1926–2005) and Leonid Ioakimovich Chuguevsky (1926–2000), the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts organised an international conference from 1–3 September. A report will be given in the next issue of IDP News.
Perspectives on the Early Medieval Silk Road’ are currently being prepared for publication.
This autumn Håkan Wahlquist will be visiting scholar at Zinbun, Kyoto University and will explore whether he can identify any material from Dunhuang and archaeological sites of the Eastern Silk Road.
The Museum of Ethnography, Stockholm lent a number of superb panoramas taken by Sven Hedin in Aksai Chin, northwest Tibet, for the photographic exhibition ‘Histories of Science and Photography in Sweden’ at Landskrona (see Exhibitions and Conferences).
Sweden, like IDP UK, has been carrying out repeat photography of sites first documented a century ago. Håkan Wahlquist of The Sven Hedin Foundation comments on this:
‘Repeat photography has over the years become a powerful tool for studying changes taking place in our environment; changes in forest cover, the extent of glaciers, urban and settlement developments, etc. can be studied with various time-depths involved, depending on the age of the original photos. Many of the early explorers of Central Asia left sizeable collections of high quality photos, often glass negatives, behind which have recently, with increasing technical sophistication, been used for studying not only changes taking place in our natural environment, but also changes that have taken place to our manmade environment, like settlements and monuments in Persia/Iran and archaeological sites in the Taklamakan desert (IDP News 39). Paul Pelliot’s and Sergei Oldenburg’s early documentation of the Mogao caves can serve as reference points for understanding what might have happened to individual caves during the last century or so.
Such work of course depends on the quality and correct documentation of the photos once taken. Sven Hedin was a skilful photographer and took careful notes on his photographs. He developed a method to shoot panoramas, but even more so to draw panoramas of the surrounding landscape supporting his cartographic work. These panoramas were so exact that his cartographer later on could base a whole set of maps from his Tibetan campaign 1906–1908 on these panoramas.’
Mountain range south of ‘Lake Lighten’ in the Aksai Chin area, northwestern Tibet. Photographer: Sven Hedin. The panorama was shot in the evening of 18 September 1906 from a position close to Camp 15, 5.095 metre above sea level, during Sven Hedin’s third expedition, 1905-1908.
The British Museum
The Museum loaned objects for the Dunhuang exhibition at the Getty Centre and Jane Portal and Clarissa von Spee attended the symposium. Clarissa von Spee, curator of the Stein material in the Asian Department, has left the Museum to become Curator of Chinese Art and Head of the Department Asian Art and at Cleveland Museum of Art. The Museum are currently appointing a successor.
Thanks to the generosity of Sir Joseph Hotung, in November 2017 the British Museum’s new China and South Asia gallery will open in Room 33. The narrative which will now be chronological has been completely reimagined. Due to advances in lighting and digital technology we are now able to include paintings and textiles in the discussions of Chinese and South Asian cultures. Material from the Silk Roads will be included in the display and will be rotated.
We were very sorry to say goodbye to Wong Wingyui, conservator on the Dunhuang scrolls at the British Library, who retired in February 2016. Having trained in Hong Kong, Mr Wong had previously worked on Dunhuang paintings at the British Museum before joining the British Library in 2004.
Mr Wong’s skills and experience have been central to IDP’s work over this period and in the last few months of his work he had the chance to pass on some of these to the new IDP conservator, Vania Assis.
We welcomed Tan Dun and Kaitlin Ryan to the Library to discuss the musical tradition of Dunhuang and to view manuscripts. Tan Dun is preparing a symphonic composition inspired by the manuscripts and paintings of Dunhuang.
Other visitors included Joseph Houseal (Director, Core of Culture), Professor Sarah Fraser with a group of her students from Heidelberg University, and Dr Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim with her students from Goldsmiths College, University of London.
We have had several long-term readers over the past year, including Nie Zhijun from Hunan University of Science and Technology and Lü Ai and Yuan Deling from the Dunhuang Academy.
Susan Whitfield spent three months in Los Angeles as a Getty Research Scholar working on the supply of pigments used at Dunhuang and sites from India across Central Asian for murals, paintings and manuscripts. This coincided with the Dunhuang exhibition and she had a busy schedule with meetings on Dunhuang studies and potential collaborations.
Conferences and Papers
Sam van Schaik gave presentations at the ‘Beyond Boundaries’ seminar at SOAS, at the Cambridge ‘Between Languages’ workshop, at a workshop on Bon, a SOAS panel on Tibet and the Silk Road and at the the International Association of Tibetan Studies conference in Bergen.
Susan Whitfield gave a conference paper, a public lecture and a podcast at the Getty Center, all related to their Dunhuang exhibition and the Diamond Sutra. She also contributed to workshops at Newcastle University on Global Late Antiquity and at the Sainsbury Centre on the Silk Road.
New Year Party
IDP joined with the Royal Asiatic Society (RAS) to hold a Chinese New Year party at the RAS premises on 18 February 2016. The party was combined with a light-hearted charity auction to raise funds for both organisations.
The British Library loaned ten items to the Getty exhibition, including the Diamond Sutra (pictured right during installation). Further details can be found in the exhibition catalogue.
North American Silk Road Fellow
Thanks to a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, Dr Miki Morita (pictured right) was appointed as a one-year Georgetown-IDP Postdoctoral Research Fellow for North American Silk Road Collections. Based at Georgetown Unversity, Washington DC, and working closely with Dr Michelle Wang, as well as with IDP colleagues in London, Dr Morita will be researching manuscripts, paintings, artefacts and archives within the scope of IDP and held in North American collections. The aim is to make as much of this material as possible accessible through IDP.
Dr Morita spent a week in early July in London learning about IDP funded by a donation through the Dunhuang Foundation US. She then started her post in Georgetown. She has already been busy in contacting several institutions and will post regular blogs about her work (see her opening blog post).
If you know of any material that you think should be included, whether in private or public collections, then please contact Dr Morita on: email@example.com