Holland Cotter, the New York Time’s art critic has been traveling in China as part of a series “Throwing Open the Doors” that explores how China’s shifting self-image is reshaping its art and art institutions. His second piece on Dunhuang’s Mogaoku, also known as “peerless caves” is a thoughtful and evocative piece on the nature and history of the Buddhist grottoes. Cotter was lucky enough to be able to spend the night at the site rather than in the city with the permission of the Dunhuang Academy, the Chinese conservation and research body that oversees the cave.
Many know that conservationists are battling against the site’s degradation caused by carbon dioxide and humidity which is exacerbated by growing tourism. This has forced Dunhuang’s authorities to explore the use of digital technology to “recast the entire Dunhuang experience” 15 miles away from the original site. The article is accompanied by beautiful images in a slideshow which we recommend you check out.
Photo from Friends of Dunhuang