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The International Dunhuang Programme is filling a huge gap in the research, teaching and knowledge-production industry. The gap comes about because so many projects are conceived along national lines or along institutional lines. The international orientation of the project means that all objects are completely accessible to all people who have Internet access, and that’s a tremendous advantage.

Stephen F Teiser, D T Suzuki Professor in Buddhist Studies and Professor of Religion at Princeton University

Our Mission

The International Dunhuang Programme, formerly the International Dunhuang Project, provides access to images, information and learning resources about manuscripts, printed materials and other items from sites of the Eastern Silk Roads through its online platform.

We currently link the collections of over 35 partner institutions worldwide, forming a growing network of libraries, museums and research institutes. We also regularly organise and support academic events, professional exchanges and cultural activities. These are aimed at users of all ages for their research, inspiration and enjoyment.

All the IDP partners share the vision to:

  • Increase awareness and understanding of the history and culture of the eastern Silk Roads;
  • Conserve, digitise, document and promote materials relating to the eastern Silk Roads in their collections and in other institutions across the world;
  • Make all images, information and learning resources relating to these collection items freely available on the IDP website;
  • Follow best practice for the documentation and preservation of these materials in both their physical and digital forms;
  • Contribute to the maintenance and future development of the IDP technical and digital infrastructure;
  • Support and encourage research and learning on the eastern Silk Roads;
  • Facilitate, organise and support the development of exhibitions, talks, and events;
  • Promote exchanges within the academic community and between professionals from partner institutions.

Our global network

Founding Partners

When the IDP was initially established, its Founding Partners acted as regional nodes, hosting their own instance of the database and website. They also committed to coordinate the conservation, cataloguing and digitisation of the Eastern Silk Road collections in their custodianship.

Contributing Partners

In addition to the Founding Partners, more than 35 other institutions also contribute to the partnership by sharing data, images, and expertise. A selection of our contributing partners is below.

  • Academia Sinica, Taipei 
  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • The British Museum, London
  • The Chester Beatty Library, Dublin 
  • Chicago Field Museum
  • Cincinnati Art Museum
  • Detroit Institute of Art
  • The Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC
  • Kuche Cultural Relics Bureau
  • The Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest
  • Middlebury College of Art
  • The Morgan Library, New York
  • Musée Guimet, Paris
  • The Museum for Asian Art, Berlin
  • Museum of Asian Art
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • National Central Library, Taiwan
  • The National Museum of Ethnography, Stockholm
  • The National Museum of India, New Delhi
  • Needham Research Institute
  • Old Tibetan Documents Online (OTDO), Japan
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Princeton University, (Gest Library and Art Museum), Princeton 
  • Private Collection: Lo Archive
  • Private Collection: Sam Fogg
  • Research Institute of Korean Studies, Seoul
  • Royal Library (Det Kongelige Bibliotek)
  • State Hermitage
  • Statens museer för världskultur – Etnografiska muse
  • The Sven Hedin Foundation, Stockholm
  • Turfan Academy
  • University Museum and Art Gallery, HK
  • University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • Princeton University, (Gest Library and Art Museum), Princeton
  • The Victoria and Albert Museum, London
  • Xinjiang Institute of Archaeology
A pile of neatly rolled scrolls.

Contact us

We welcome comments about the work of the IDP and this website, so please share your suggestions.

For general enquiries, please contact [email protected].

For enquiries to specific institutions for the purposes of seeing manuscripts or securing copyright and reuse permissions, please visit the institution’s page on this website or contact the institution directly.