Symposium: Connecting Dunhuang – Sites, Art, and Ideas along the Silk Road(s)

Date of event:   22/04/2022 − 23/04/2022

Title: Connecting Dunhuang: Sites, Art, and Ideas along the Silk Road(s)
Duration: 22–23 April 2022
Institutions: P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA


Strategically located on the edge of the Taklamakan desert in northwestern China, at the convergence of the ancient northern and southern trade routes (popularly known as the Silk Road), Dunhuang has long captivated explorers, Sinologists, and art historians, among many others. The Mogao Caves, the largest Buddhist cave complex in the area, with nearly 500 cave temples filled with murals and sculpture, has inspired and will continue to inspire scholarship on an inexhaustible range of topics. During its period of activity, from the 4th to the 14th century, the Mogao Caves, often simply referred to as “Dunhuang,” served as a center for Buddhism and a gateway for the movement of people, ideas, and goods between China and Central Asia. This symposium takes Dunhuang as a point of departure to explore other regions, artistic production, and ideas along the Silk Road.

Speakers: Karl Debreczeny (Rubin Museum of Art), Brandon Dotson (Georgetown University), Erika Forte (Kyoto University), Amanda Goodman (University of Toronto), Bryan Lowe (Princeton University), Yu-ping Luk (The British Museum), Michelle McCoy (University of Pittsburgh), Michelle C. Wang (Georgetown University), Wu Hung (University of Chicago), Valérie Zaleski (Musée Guimet).

This symposium celebrates the publication of Visualizing Dunhuang: The Lo Archive Photographs of the Mogao and Yulin Caves and the Tang Center’s 20th Anniversary.



Friday, April 22, 2022
4:30 pm, McCosh 50, Helm Auditorium, Princeton University

Keynote Lecture
Cave 17 at Dunhuang, or Stein’s Library Cave: Reconstructing Silk Road Society
Valerie Hansen, Yale University

Saturday, April 23, 2022
8:30 am–5:30 pm
McCosh 50, Helm Auditorium, Princeton University

Organized by the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art and cosponsored by the Princeton University Art Museum, the Department of Art and Archaeology, the East Asian Studies Program, and the Buddhist Studies Workshop.

Registration is required. The symposium will also be live streamed. For more information, please visit the website.


Image: James Lo. View of the Mogao Cliff, 1943–44. Photograph. Tang Center for East Asian Art, Princeton University.