Research on Clothing of Ancient Characters in Murals of Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes and Artworks of Sutra Cave Lost Overseas

Abstract

At the beginning of the twentieth century (1900), the Sutra Cave of the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang (presently numbered Cave 17) was discovered by accident. This cave contained tens of thousands of scriptures, artworks, and silk paintings, and became one of the four major archeological discoveries of modern China. The discovery of these texts, artworks, and silk paintings in Dunhuang shook across China and around the world. After the discovery of Dunhuang’s Sutra Cave, expeditions from all over the world flocked to Dunhuang to acquire tens of thousands of ancient manuscripts, silk paintings, embroidery, and other artworks that had been preserved in the Sutra Cave, as well as artifacts from other caves such as murals, clay sculptures, and woodcarvings, causing a significant volume of Dunhuang’s cultural relics to become lost overseas. The emergent field of Tunhuangology, the study of Dunhuang artifacts, has been entirely based on the century-old discovery of the Sutra Cave in Dunhuang’s Mogao Grottoes and the texts and murals unearthed there. However, the dress and clothing of the figures in these lost artworks and cultural relics has not attracted sufficient attention from academic experts. The author has therefore systematically researched the dress and clothing worn by all characters in the ancient murals and artworks of Dunhuang’s Sutra Cave in the hope that this research will  provide valuable information for the study of ancient clothing.

Keywords: Clothing, dunhuang murals, lost overseas, sutra cave artwork

Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 41-53 (Download PDF)

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