Time­less Beauty

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS - Trans­lated by Li Xia Edited by Scott Bray Photos by Chang Xu

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

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