Last weekend the gang and I caught the tail end of the China National Gallery's exhibition of 敦煌 (Dun huang) cave paintings. The show was pleasantly surprising and well put together. It was also completely jam-packed, making the whole event more of a carnival scene with security guards constantly chanting " 不可以拍照!" (Photography is not allowed!) Still, I was glad to see all of Beijing out in force appreciating the displays.

Note that most of the paintings below were not originals, but copies produced from the cave walls. Also, the caves were very "recreated" looking, but still very effective. This didn't detract from their meaningfulness and instead made it all the more imperative to visit the caves of 山西 (shan1 xi1) and 陕西 (shan3 xi1) provinces.

Outside of 中国美术馆 (China National gallery)

Pictures with a Guardian of Heaven

A surprised man near a smaller, original cave painting.

A Buddha figure in a recreated cave scene.

A powerful figure with it's face eroded away.

An elegant, extremely Indian looking sculpture of a bodhisattva.

A display of celling and wall paintings among a surge of people.

One of my favorites; a painting of a hunt with Chinese angels and Guanyin with her attendant.

A spectacular map of Shanxi province, absolutely huge and detailed with map information on various scenic spots and temples. I could read some of the text easily, which is nearly 1000 years old. (Gotta love Chinese!)

A "sleeping Buddha." Actually, this figure is a dying Buddha reaching Nirvana. He was tremendous and surrounded by paintings. Hard to photograph and describe.


Chad said...

A beautiful looking show, that's for sure. Glad Beijing pulled it off!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a Beijing blockbuster- I think its great that there is so much interest in local history- perhaps it will lead to more effective/sensitve preservation efforts in the future.

How ARE you, my sleeping Buddah?


about us said...

it's so unreal to imagine these places, overfilled with people & stuff like that large and very impressive buddah...NUTS!

please post some more, i'm missing you, you know...?