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Dunhuang Travel China, Dunhuang Tour Guide

Hotels for your stay in Dunhuang    Dunhuang News
China Dunhuang City:
Dunhuang

Resident People:
100,000

Geography:
located in the west of Hexi Corridor of Gansu province of China

Neighboring Areas: Shaanxi, Sichuan, and Qinghai provinces, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia Hui and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regions

Physical Features: at the west end of Hexi corridor, a tiny oasis rounded by high mountains, desert and Gobi, with the average altitude of 1100m

Climate:
warm variable zone, aridity climate with the frost-free period of 160 days, windy

Average Temperature: 9.3C annually, annual or daily difference in temperature great, common saying: "morning with fur-lined jacket, noon gauze", hot summer with the highest temperature over 40C
Rainfall: annual precipitation 1982.7 mm, concentrated in spring and autumn

Nature:
Mountains: Mt. Sanweishan

Rivers: Dang River, Shule River

Products: Liguang Apricot, Ziyang Peach, Mingshan Dates, Yangguan Grape, Watermelon of Murmurous Flesh, Bailan Melon, Huanghemi Melon, apple-pear, apple

Local Highlights: Qinqiang Drama, handcraft carpet

History:
made a prefecture in 117B.C. by Emperor Han Wudi, and was a major point of interchange between China and the outside world during the Han and Tang dynasties

Dunhuang Tourism:
THE CAVE TEMPLES

The Mogao cave temples near the town of Dunhuang, at the edge of the Gobi desert in north-west China, are filled with one of the most extensive and exquisite collections of Buddhist paintings and sculptures in the world. Every surface of the walls and ceilings is covered with painted clay stucco, some 45,000 square metres in all: graceful acrobats of the sky scatter flowers and garlands, while dancers and musicians celebrate the beauties of the Buddhist Pure Lands; row upon row of miniature images of the Buddha, subtly varied in colouring or dress, adorn virtually every cave, and give the site its popular name of the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas. The Dunhuang caves remain one of the most perfectly preserved of the world's great religious sanctuaries.

DUNHUANG

The oasis town of Dunhuang lay at a crucial junction of the Silk Road, that ancient braid of caravan trails stretching for more than 7,000 kilometres from China to the Mediterranean, which served as a highway not just for merchandise, but also for ideas - religious, cultural and artistic. By the 4th century AD, the Silk Road had brought Dunhuang both commercial prosperity and a growing Buddhist community. Some 25 kilometres to its south-east, at the edge of the Mingsha Shan or Dunes of the Singing Sands, lay a river bed bordered by a long cliff.

Detail from Buddha Triad
It was here, in the year 366 AD, that a local monk set about carving out a cave for solitary meditation. Over the next thousand years, hundreds of similar caves were cut into the same rock face - to become not bare monastic cells but richly endowed and adorned shrines. The site began to decline in the 12th century, and slipped into virtual obscurity until the early years of the 20th century. Some 492 decorated caves remain to this day.

The Author
Roderick Whitfield began his study of Chinese at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, in 1955, and subsequently studied Chinese art and archaeology at St John's College, Cambridge, and Chinese history of art at Princeton University. From 1968 to 1984 he was Assistant Keeper in the Department of Oriental Antiquities at the British Museum, where he organised a number of exhibitions of Chinese painting and curated the loan exhibition Treasures from Korea. He is the author of The Art of Central Asia: The Stein Collection at the British Museum, in which he discussed the Buddhist paintings and prints on silk, hemp cloth and paper brought to London from Dunhuang by Sir Aurel Stein at the beginning of this century.
Heavenly Being

Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara
The Photographer
Seigo Otsuka, a photographer renowned in Japan, was born in 1946 in Harbin, north-west China. He studied at the Tokyo Institute of Polytechnics, specialising in photography. As principal photographer, he has participated in numerous overseas research projects with the NHK Broadcasting team, and he has co-authored a number of other publications. A member of the Photographers' Organisation of Japan, he continues to specialise in quality art and travel photograph on a freelance basis.

THE BOOK

In this, the first publication of its kind in the West, the magnificent Dunhuang murals can be viewed in superb colour plates, with a remarkable choice of views, to offer the reader a brilliantly illuminated view of the art of the caves. Forty of the best preserved caves, from among the earliest to the latest, are recorded in unprecedented detail, supplemented by extensive commentaries.

Mourning Potentate

Detail from the Procession of Zhang Yichao
This new work, revised and expanded from the original Japanese edition, is published in two volumes. Volume 1 features 400 colour plates of outstanding definition, while the essays to the plates, newly written for this edition in an accessible narrative form, are presented in Volume 2.

Dunhuang Attractive points:
It was Europeans who re-opened the road in their search for the ancient Silk Road cities. It happened in the latter part of the last century. These tours can begin very logically in Xian, proceeding via Lanzhou and the Jiayuguan Pass to the Magao Caves of Dunhuang, and then to Turpan, Urumqi and Kashi.

Dunhuang lies at the western end of the Gansu Corridor, called Hexi Zoulang. The name Dunhuang originally meant "prospering, flourishing"-- a hint that Dunhuang must once have been an important city. Its position at the intersection of two trade routes was what made Dunhuang flourish. The coming and going of horse and camel caravans carried new thoughts, ideas, arts and sciences to the East and West.

It is said that in the fourth century a Buddhist monk had a vision of 1000 Buddhas, and began to carve grottoes into the sandstone cliff and fill them with buddhist images. They were abandoned and forgotten in around the 11th century until Stein and other archaeologists arrived to carry away huge quantities of manuscripts, textiles and other art objects. However Magao remains a brilliant trove of statues and wall paintings from the 4th to 10th centuries.
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