Due to various reasons, many Silk Road objects from Dunhuang and other Buddhist and archaeological sites were scattered around the world and are now in the public and private collections in the US. By focusing on ten objects at the collection of the Asian Art Museum, this talk narrates stories about the spread of Buddhist art in China and examines rich religious and cultural activities in the eastern portion of the Silk Roads from the Han to the Yuan dynasty. By mapping their original sites in chronological order, we can discuss histories and features of these artworks in a larger context, including the textile painting from Mogao Caves in Dunhuang and the mural fragment from Simsim Caves in Kucha. We will explore how artistic exchanges and cultural interactions on the vast Eurasian land provided endless streams of inspiration for the development and innovation of Chinese art in the past two millenniums.
Image Credit: Camel, approx. 690-750. China; Shaanxi or Henan province, Tang dynasty (618-907). Earthenware with glaze. Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, The Avery Brundage Collection, B60S95. Photograph © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.