The Library Cave and Dunhuang Manuscripts

INTRODUCTION

Library Cave and Manuscripts.jpg

The Library Cave and manuscripts, photo taken by Marc Aurel Stein.

斯坦因照莫高第17号洞外经卷。

Source: International Dunhuang Project.

图片来源:国际敦煌项目。© British Library

From building of the first cave in the Mogao Grottoes in 366 A.D. by a wandering Buddhist monk Yue Zun to the discovery of the Library Cave in 1900 by an itinerant Daoist monk Wang Yuanlu, the Mogao Grottoes went through more than 1000 years of prosperity and decline. The Library Cave (numbered Mogao Cave 17 today) was found inside a hidden chamber in Cave 16. The sealing of the Library Cave in the early 11th century A.D. remained a mystery. The manuscripts discovered touched upon many aspects of people’s activities along the Silk Road over centuries: sutras of different religions, mostly Buddhism, but also Daoism, Christianity, and others; paintings in different styles, of various contents and on different materials; fabrics and artifacts that represent ancient embroidery and printing technologies; and secular documents that illustrate daily living in Dunhuang during different historical periods. The 19th century Westerners expeditions in Central Asia brought the Dunhuang manuscripts to different parts of the world after being buried for more than a thousand years.

Since the early 20th century when these manuscripts left Dunhuang, they were being collected and studied by major libraries, museums, and research institutions around the world. The most prominent were the British Library (Stein Collection 45,000 pieces), the Chinese National Library (expanded from 8,000 to 16,000 manuscripts), Bibliotheque nationale de France and Guimet Museum (Pelliot chinois collection of 30,000 books, coins, and many more), and Russian Oriental Institute (19,000 items). The remaining materials were collected in Germany, Japan, and Korea. The study of Dunhuang has thus become an explicit field of scholarly inquiry requiring international collaboration. The establishment of the International Dunhuang Project (IDP) and digitization of Dunhuang materials made scholarly exchanges possible. With the aid of the IDP, we present in this exhibition 20 (sets of) items that showcased the multitude of Dunhuang manuscripts. These manuscripts open a fascinating window into distant history that provides a close, realistic, and vivid view into the physical, artistic, and spiritual lives of various cultures.  

展览介绍

从乐尊和尚于公元366年在莫高建造第一个洞窟,到1900年王圆箓道士发现藏经洞,莫高窟经历了1000多年的兴衰。公元11世纪藏经洞的封存至今仍是未解之谜。但在19世纪初,各国对中亚的探索让敦煌文书在被封存千年以后流散到世界各地。

敦煌文书于1900年在今天莫高窟第16号窟(现被编为第17号窟)内室被发现。文书记载了不同时期丝绸之路上人们活动的方方面面,其中大部分是佛教典籍,也有道教、基督教和其他宗教文献;各种风格、内容和质地的绘画;展现古代纺织、刺绣和印刷等技艺的织物和文物,同时还有世俗文献呈现敦煌不同时期的社会生活。

这些文书自20世纪初期离开敦煌以后,被世界各大图书馆,博物馆和研究机构收藏和研究。其中最突出的是大英图书馆的斯坦因合集,有超过45,000件从丝绸之路上收集的文献和印刷品。中国国家图书馆有最初从敦煌运往北京及后期收集的1万6千件馆藏,法国国家图书馆和吉美博物馆有伯希和带回的3万多本书、100多枚硬币及众多绘画、雕塑、经幡等。俄罗斯东方研究所所拥有的19000多件藏品,德国、日本和韩国博物馆也有部分的收藏。

敦煌研究现已成为一门国际合作的显学。国际敦煌项目(IDP)的建立和电子化使得交流散落在世界各地的敦煌材料成为可能。借助国际敦煌项目的平台,我们在这里展示20(组)文物,意在展现敦煌文书的多样性和价值。这些文书为我们打开了一扇奇妙的窗口,让我们得以以更近的距离,真实生动地了解到来自不同文化的物质、艺术和精神生活。

References 文献:

  1. International Dunhuang Project (IDP). (12/11/2010). British Collections. IDP. http://idp.bl.uk/pages/collections_en.a4d.
  2. International Dunhuang Project (IDP). (12/11/2010). Chinese Collections. IDP.  http://idp.bl.uk/pages/collections_ch.a4d
  3. International Dunhuang Project (IDP). (12/11/2010). French Collections. IDP. http://idp.bl.uk/pages/collections_fr.a4d
  4. International Dunhuang Project (IDP). (12/11/2010). Japanese Collections. IDP. http://idp.bl.uk/pages/collections_jp.a4d
  5. International Dunhuang Project (IDP). (12/11/2010). Russian Collections. IDP. http://idp.bl.uk/pages/collections_ru.a4d.
  6. Whitfield, R., Whitfield, Susan, & Agnew, Neville. (2015). Cave temples of Mogao at Dunhuang : Art and history on the Silk Road (Second ed., Conservation and cultural heritage ; 9th v). Los Angeles, California: Getty Conservation Institute.
Introduction 展览介绍