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Post: Appreciating the Dunhuang Buddhist Caves: Stories of Art, Religion, Politics, and People

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Appreciating the Dunhuang Buddhist Caves: Stories of Art, Religion, Politics, and People



A joint event by the Asian American Alumni Association of Princeton (A4P) and the Princeton Area Alumni Association (PA3)


Dora Ching *11

Associate Director of the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art at Princeton University

Wednesday, June 23rd, 0830 pm EDT


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We are delighted to host Princeton University’s Tang Center for East Asian Art Associate Director Dora C. Y. Ching *11 for a fascinating presentation of the Dunhuang Buddhist Caves on Wednesday June 23 at 8:30 PM EDT.  These Silk Road caves date from 400 - 1400 A.D. Dora's work has recently been published in a nine-volume set by Princeton University Press. Here is an excerpt from this amazing accomplishment: 
"Situated at the crossroads of the northern and southern routes of the ancient silk routes in western China, Dunhuang is one of the richest Buddhist sites in the world, with more than 500 richly decorated cave temples constructed between the fourth and fourteenth centuries. The sculptures, murals, portable paintings, and manuscripts found in the Mogao and Yulin Caves at Dunhuang represent every aspect of Buddhism. From its earliest construction to the present, this location has been visualized by many individuals, from the architects, builders, and artists who built the caves to twentieth-century explorers, photographers, and conservators, as well as contemporary artists." 


Speaker Profile

Ph.D., Princeton University, 2011

Dora Ching has been associate director of the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art(link is external) at Princeton University since 2002. She is a leading specialist in Chinese portraiture and the characteristics that distinguish this genre from its European and American counterparts. Before and during her time at the Tang Center she has been deeply engaged in book editing and publication, with more than a dozen books to her credit as coeditor or managing editor. She is the author of numerous published book chapters and articles and has co-curated three major museum exhibitions.

During her graduate years at Princeton, Ching served as research assistant at the National Palace Museum in Taipei and as an editor of the National Palace Museum Bulletin. She also worked at the Princeton University Art Museum on the exhibition The Embodied Image: Chinese Calligraphy from the John B. Elliott Collection. She held the Jane and Morgan Whitney Art History Fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, working on 19th- and 20th-century Chinese painting. The wide range of her research and study experience is reflected in the books she has worked on, from early Shang archaeology through family issues in Chinese art, calligraphy, and contemporary Chinese arts.

Selected Bibliography for A4P and PA3

 Agnew, Neville, Marcia Reed, and Tevvy Ball, eds. Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road. Los Angeles, CA: Getty Conservation Institute, 2016.

 Ching, Dora C.Y.,ed. Visualizing Dunhuang: Seeing, Studying, and Conserving the Caves. Princeton: P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art, Princeton University, in association with Princeton University Press, 2021.*          

Hansen, Valerie. The Silk Road: A New History. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

 Hopkirk, Peter. Foreign Devils on the Silk Road: The Search for the Lost Cities and Treasures of Chinese Central Asia. London: Murray, 1980.

Rong Xinjiang. Eighteen Lectures on Dunhuang. Translated by Imre Galambos. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2013. 

 Whitfield, Susan. Silk, Slaves, and Stupas: Material Culture of the Silk Road. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2018.

Whitfield, Roderick, Susan Whitfield, and Neville Agnew. Cave Temples of Mogao at Dunhuang:

Art and History on the Silk Road. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute, 2015.


* Available from Princeton University Press 20% discount through 31 August 2021. Enter code FRDUN at checkout.


Dora C.Y. Ching                                                                                    2021-06-30




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Appreciating the Dunhuang Buddhist Caves: Stories of Art, Religion, Politics, and People ( Wednesday, June 23, 2021 - 8:30 PM to 9:45 PM )

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Location: Virtual
Organized by: A4P and PA3

Posted by tmswift almost 3 years ago.