The Overseas Exhibition for Restored Images of Kizil Caves and Murals and the Monks & Artists Exhibition at the M Woods Museum dazzle visitors with their precious collections of murals from the earliest Buddhist caves in China—the Kizil Caves.
Located along the ancient Silk Road that runs through the Western Regions, Xinjiang has long been a melting pot of civilisations. The Mediterranean, Mesopotamian and Indian Subcontinent regions, as well as the civilisations of the Yellow River and Yangtze River basins have all come together here. The Western Regions, standing where the West and the East meet and meld, have witnessed vicissitudes along the Silk Road over the past millennium.
It is the only place in the world integrating the civilisations of ancient India, Greece, Rome, Persia and the Han (206 BC–AD 220) and Tang (AD 618–907) dynasties. There once stood a mysterious ancient state, strategically located along the Silk Road, the largest town in the Western Regions. It bore political significance from the Han to the Tang dynasties and held a prominent position as a Buddhist centre within the Western Regions, famous for the art found in its architecture, sculpture and murals in its grottoes in Central Asia and the Middle East. This is Qiuci, lost ancient state of the Western Regions.
Among ancient Qiuci’s numerous grottoes, the Kizil Caves Complex is the most special. Standing between the Dunhuang Grottoes of China and Bamiyan Caves of Afghanistan, it was the cradle of grotto art in Qiuci. The most important cultural node along the Silk Road, Kizil had contributed to the transmission, integration and advancement of Western and Oriental civilisation.
Two exhibitions recently hosted by the Xinjiang Qiuci Institute and sponsored by the China National Arts Fund are on display at the M Woods Museum. The first, the Overseas Exhibition for Restored Images of Kizil Caves and Murals, launched to display the Institute’s most recent results in research, and the other, Monks & Artists, aims to dazzle visitors with precious Kizil Caves mural collections. The two exhibitions complement each other, showing the world the artistic value and eternal beauty of the Kizil Caves. The exhibitions will run September 2.
A Lost Civilisation
Today, Ancient Qiuci remains only in museum and history books.
The ancient state of Qiuci bordered the Tianshan Mountains to the north and the Taklamakan Desert to the south. An expansive state, it spanned across today’s Kuqa, Baicheng, Xinhe and other