The Friends of the Priest’s House Museum invite you to a talk on the ‘Caves of the Thousand Buddhas: Archaeology on the Eastern Silk Road’ by Dr Alastair Morrison on Thursday 12 March, 7.30pm in the Hilda Coles Open Learning Centre at the Priest’s House Museum & Garden in Wimborne Minster.
The cultures along the Silk Road and their influences on neighbouring civilisations were little known until archaeologists in the early 20th century uncovered the ruins of ancient cities in the desert sands, revealing incredible sculptures, murals and manuscripts. This talk will provide an introduction to one of the richest sites on the Eastern Silk Road, the Mogao cave complex near the oasis town of Dunhuang on the edge of the Gobi desert in northwestern China.
Around 700 Buddhist cave temples were constructed here between the 4th and 14th centuries containing exquisite wall paintings and sculptures. One cave was sealed around the end of the first millennium only to be re-discovered in 1900; hidden inside the cave were 40,000 manuscripts and paintings. These unique items tell fascinating stories of life along the Silk Road in the first millennium AD. The talk will introduce some of these objects as well as tell the story of the archaeologists who made these discoveries and brought them back to museums and libraries across the globe.
Dr Alastair Morrison worked for nine years at the International Dunhuang Project (IDP) at the British Library, collaborating with partner institutions worldwide to preserve and disseminate the rich cultural heritage of the Eastern Silk Road. He lived in China for four years and has travelled extensively on the Silk Road in western China. He is currently International Partnerships Manager at Bournemouth University.
Tickets are available from the Wimborne Tourist Information Centre or on 01202 886116 priced at £6, including refreshments (booking is essential).