Investigation and Exploration
In this exercise, you will explore two painted Buddhist caves from the Mogao Caves at Dunhuang (which were introduced at the end of the lecture this week on Buddhism). These have been digitized as virtual reality panoramas by the Dunhuang Academy and placed online, along with some description and high-quality detail photos of the walls. Create a log-in if you want to browse the high-resolution images, too.
1. Explore Cave no. 249, which is one of the earliest at the site and dates to the Western Wei period in China (ca. 535-556 CE). https://www.e-dunhuang.com/cave/10.0001/0001.0001.0249
2. Then explore cave no. 320, which dates to the Tang Dynasty in China, ca. 750 CE.
https://www.e-dunhuang.com/cave/10.0001/0001.0001.0320 Submit a written response answering the following
1. Comment on the style of decoration of each cave. How are they different in terms of color palette and drawing style, especially those used for human figures?
2. What type of scene occupies the ceiling of each individual cave?
3. Describe the depiction of the Buddhist “Pure Land” on the north wall of cave no. 320. (Pure Land Buddhism was described in the lecture for this unit). What is going on in this scene? [USE YOUR OWN WORDS]