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Silk Road hub takes cultural lead

By Alexis Hooi/Wang Linyan | China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-18 08:30
The restoration of the relics has been a priority for specialists with Dunhuang Academy over the past few decades.[Photo provided to China Daily]
论坛资讯 此次关税排除清单出炉,表明中国应对经贸摩擦的政策组合更加完善。 思维车 通过紧张的学习,志愿者掌握了急救基础、成人以及婴儿心肺复苏(CPR)、自动体外除颤器(AED)使用、窒息、内外科急诊处置等专业知识和技能,经过严格的演练和考核,获得由美国心脏协会颁发的心脏拯救证书。 武汉论坛 督查组提前做好“功课”,设计督查方案,分门别类地制定访谈提纲,精心设置问题清单,兼顾共性问题和个性问题,与受访对象有针对性地交流,从而找准问题,精准寻找对策。 创业 禹越镇 论坛资讯 洋坑 思维车 张各长村

Dunhuang Academy director looks to iconic Mogao Caves art in renewed global role for Chinese culture, Alexis Hooi and Wang Linyan report.

They are often depicted drifting through the air, descending from the heavens among wisps of clouds and wearing silken robes that convey the lightness of their flight.

The apsaras, angel-like beings known as feitian in Chinese, are a symbol of the historic Silk Road oasis of Dunhuang in Gansu province. Common motifs in the city range from towering sculptures of ethereal musicians clutching Chinese pipa lutes at crossroads, to intricate drawings of winsome beauties bearing floral tributes enameled on mugs.

For Dunhuang Academy director Zhao Shengliang, the feitian also offer an important way to "brand "traditional Chinese culture and help spread an appreciation of it across the world.

"When people think about traditional Chinese culture, they'll think about the Dunhuang feitian, about the beauty of its art."

Zhao, 55, was speaking to China Daily on the grounds of the academy in one of his first major interviews since he took up the position earlier this year.

The leading research institute manages and studies the nearby Mogao Caves, one of the greatest repositories of ancient Buddhist art dating back to the 4th century, covering the golden age of the Tang (618-907) and other seminal dynasties. The monumental impact of the murals, sculptures, scripts and other major artifacts discovered in the 500 or so caves at the UNESCO World Heritage Site on the outskirts of the oasis in the early 20th century continues to be felt beyond the cultural, historical and religious spheres.

Zhao lists tapping Dunhuang art and its legacy to promote Chinese culture to the world as a top priority for the academy.

The academy has grown over the seven decades since the establishment of the People's Republic of China and "our development, our direction, has essentially remained unchanged", says Zhao, who is the fifth person to head the institution. His predecessor, Wang Xudong, is the current director of the Palace Museum in Beijing.

"Our main responsibility is to protect, research and promote. These are still what we do because first, you need to effectively protect the cultural relics. Then you need to research them well. It's only after researching them well that we are able to understand what they are, what they are composed of, what their value is," Zhao says.

"Finally, we can properly develop and promote the value of these priceless treasures."

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