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Buddhist treasures come to Los Angeles

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The world's oldest book is coming to Los Angeles! A new exhibition at the Getty Genter - entitled 'Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China's Silk Road' - features a ninth-century Buddhist scripture, along with full-scale replicas of three Buddhist grottoes. It's the first major Dunhuang art exhibition in the United States.

Buddhist treasures come to Los Angeles 

The Diamond Sutra, on loan from the British Library, is the world's oldest complete and dated printed book.

It's a fitting complement to this exhibition, which has duplicated three of the nearly 500 Mogao cave temples of Dunhuang.

Located 25 kilometers from the town of Dunhuang in the Gobi Desert of Northwest China, the temples date from the 4th to the 14th centuries.

Also on display are many original objects from the site, including paintings and manuscripts that have rarely, if ever, traveled to the United States.

"The murals of the three full-scale replicas are all painted by a specialist from the Dunhuang Academy. They've used the clay from a local riverbed as the base," said Fan Jinshi, Honorary Director of Dunhuang Academy.

Filled with exquisite wall paintings and sculptures, the caves demonstrate the range of religious, artistic, and cultural exchange along the Silk Road, the trade routes linking East and West.

The exhibition marks 25 years of collaboration between the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) and the Dunhuang Academy to conserve and protect this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

"I think the greatest feature of this exhibition is to realise it, to be able to see all these pieces from the library and caves from Dunhuang, be able to be united and to be able to express what they meant to the history of art, history of cultural interaction, history of spirituality," said David Brafman, curator, Getty Cetner.

The exhibition runs from May the 7th to September the 4th.


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