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The Caves of Dunhuang

Fan Jinshi

ISBN: 978 1 85759 540 6
Size: 274 x 196 mm / 7.75 x 10.75 in.
Binding: hardcover
Pages: 256
Images: 350

UK £35.00 / US $70.00


  • A survey not only of one of the highlights of Buddhist art, but also of 1,000 years of art in China
  • Encapsulates the knowledge and experience of the chief researcher of the caves at Dunhuang and conveys her enthusiasm to the lay reader


The cave temples of Mogao are near Dunhuang at the extreme western end of the Silk Road in China. Founded by Buddhist monks in the fourth century, the caves were inhabited as an isolated monastery for over 1,000 years. The murals with which the caves were decorated create one of the finest examples of Buddhist art in China, reflecting the changing styles of Chinese art for more than a millennium. As well as murals of the highest quality, the caves were the repository of many other treasures including works on silk and paper as well as tens of thousands of Buddhist manuscripts. The site itself, on the fringes of the Gobi desert, is one of great beauty and historical resonance. This book examines 50 of the finest caves in detail. Richly illustrated and beautifully designed, it gives an unparalleled introduction to the site, the quality of the murals and the other contents, and outlines one of the most fascinating stories in Asian history.


Fan Jinshi, President of the Dunhuang Research Institute, has worked at Dunhuang since 1963, dedicating herself to the preservation and management of the caves and their contents.


"a book to get lost in…contains a dazzling array of styles and subject matter"

"extremely readable and informative, offering much for both the general and specialist reader… a welcome update that provides a fresh perspective and presentation"

"allows the reader to absorb the great commingling on the Silk Road of art, religion, trade and military might…I can genuinely say that this book gave me much greater insight (not to mention better visibility) into the caves than actually being there did"
Steppe Magazine

"an unparalleled introduction"
Asian Art