Archeology and History of the Silk Road

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Thursday, 28 February 2013

The role of A. O. Hobbs in the third Otani expedition


An English participant in the Japanese exploration of Central Asia: The role of A. O. Hobbs in the third Otani expedition
(Imre Galambos)
In I. F. Popova, ed., Russian Expeditions to Central Asia at the Turn of the 20th Century.St. Petersburg: Slavia, 2008: 188-202.
———
“The history of the exploration of the Silk Road is pieced together into a narrative from the stories of great explorers and scholars who acquired magnificent collections, today housed in leading museums and libraries worldwide. Many of these explorers, like Sergei Oldenburg, Sven Hedin and Marc Aurel Stein, were at the center of public attention at the time and their names are still well known today. However, we tend to forget that these great personalities never worked alone but had many, mostly locally hired, assistants who worked under their supervision, travelling through the same distances and seeing the same things as their employers.
“Among the “supporting actors” who contributed to the exploration of the Silk Road early in the 20th century, A. O. Hobbs (1892-1911) stands out as a special case. Albeit a British citizen, he accompanied Tachibana Zuicho, a Buddhist priest from Japan, on an ambitious expedition to Chinese Turkestan and thus contributed to further growth of Japanese collections…



1911: Funeral of Swindon man Orlando Hobbs in Kashgar, Chinese Turkestan

Source: Scan from The Swindonian.
Ref: Autumn Term 1911, Vol. 1 (no.8), pp.118-119.
Date: 1911.
Photographer: Unknown.
Repository: Swindon Collection, Central Library.
www.swindon.gov.uk/swindoncollection


Buddhist ruins discovered in Taklamakan desert


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The ruins of a Buddhist temple dating back 1,500 years ago have been discovered in China's largest desert--the Taklamakan in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. The findings offer valuable research material for historians studying the development of Buddhism in China.
These historic findings shed light on the development of Buddhism in China. In total there are more than 3,000 pieces of relics. The most eye-catching are the mural paintings. They are executed in a Greco-Buddhist art style, which was seldom seen after the 6th century.
The ruins of a Buddhist temple dating back 1,500 years ago have been discovered in China's
largest desert--the Taklimakan in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
Archaeologist Dr. Wu Xinhua said, "It’s very unique. We’ve never come across such mural paintings in this area before. You can see the fusion of Western and eastern cultures alongside the spread of Buddhism in ancient China."
The treasures are all from a Buddhist temple located in the southern Taklamakan Desert. Excavation was completed in June last year. Experts believe the temple dates back to the Southern and Northern Dynasties, about 1,500 years ago.
Dr. Wu said, "The hall is the largest of its kind found in the Taklamakan Desert since the first archaeologist came to work in the area in the 20th century. The structure of the temple is very unique. We believe it is one of the earliest Buddhist temples in China."
The temple has become the point of convergence for scholars studying how Buddhism arrived in China from India, and its early development in the country.
The ruins of a Buddhist temple dating back 1,500 years ago have been discovered in China's
largest desert--the Taklamakan in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
The ruins of a Buddhist temple dating back 1,500 years ago have been discovered in China's
largest desert--the Taklamakan in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.


New archaeological expedition in the Taklamakan Desert (3)


02-21-2013 CCTV


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A group of scientists are conducting a comprehensive archaeological survey of the hinterland of the Taklamakan desert, in southwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
The long term archaeological expedition began on Saturday. Scientists, along with over 50 camels and 10 experienced guides, have conducted cleaning and surveys in Huyangdun Buddhist Temple, Karaqin and Speer Ancient City. Huyangdun Buddhist Temple is an ancient temple dating back to Han Dynasty, about 2,200 years ago. It is one of the earliest temples with a multilayer of square walls in China. The Karaqin is a round ancient city with nearly six hundred history. It is just bigger than a football field.
Archaeologist have found an ancient weapon there. Speer Ancient City was discovered in 2004. It has a history of about 1800 years, the earliest city with landscape planning. Experts believe that Speer Ancient City is a royal city of a small country in Han Dynasty.

Related stories





Ecological changes in the desert

02-22-2013 CCTV

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By CCTV reporter Wu Lei.
A group of scientists have been on an archeological expedition in the hinterland of the
desert in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region since last week.
The relics of an ancient oasis city have become their key focus. This city within a square walled enclosure is seen by some archeologists as the best preserved city ever found in the southern Taklamakan desert. It can be dated back to over 1800 years ago. What caused the decline of this once prosperous settlement? Our reporter Wu Lei talked to one of the experts.
With these vivid lines, Professor Ding Fang brought the 1800 year old city back to life.
"The archeologist believes this exposed ruins in the desert was once an oasis city with large areas of green trees, farmland and even irrigation systems. But how did it fade to just stones buried in the sand?"
Dr. Tang Zihua specializes in analysing ecological and environmental changes. His careful inspection unveiled a large channel. He thinks this supplied the water of the whole city for a long period.
Dr. Tang Zihua, Geologist from Inst. of Geology, CAS, said, "Now you could not find any living plants around the city. But over a thousand years ago, this place would have been quite different. Because of the water, there would have been many species growing and living here. And in large numbers."
So the stable water supply was the life source of the city. Why and how then did it falter, leading to the destruction of the city is the burning question.
Tang Zihua said, "One possible reason could be that the water was cut off gradually. Probably because of the irrational use of water in the upper reaches of the river. For example, excessive usage, or intentionally changing the river’s flow. There was no scientific system to utilize the whole river."
The fall of this city is an early chapter in the dangers of desertification, telling of the need to protect plants and use water resources wisely. We learn from history. And these remains could provide a lesson for modern day residents living in oasis cities.

Monday, 25 February 2013

New archaeological expedition in the Taklamakan Desert (2)


Tomb found about 20 km away from Cele county, Xinjiang

02-16-2013 15:23 BJT

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Chinese archaeologists are now carrying excavations in the Taklamakan Desert in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The desert is the world’s second largest shifting sand desert, covering an area of about 330,000 square kilometres. Archaeologists have recently found a large number of ancient buildings and Buddhist relics in the Damagou area of the desert.
Our reporter Wu Lei is now at the Taklamakan Desert. He is following a group of experts on a series of archaeological digs. They set off from Cele county in Xinjiang Ugyur autonomous region. For more details, let’s cross over to him. Hello, Wu Lei. Thanks for joining us.
Q1: Bring us up to date on where you are and what the experts have found and what the next step is

Ancient relics found at Taklamakan Desert

02-16-2013 15:20 BJT

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Chinese archaeologists are now carrying excavations in the Taklamakan Desert in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The desert is the world’s second largest shifting sand desert, covering an area of about 330,000 square kilometres. Archaeologists have recently found a large number of ancient buildings and Buddhist relics in the Damagou area of the desert. Let’s take a closer look at what has been found over several decades.
A dry, frozen world where life is far and few between. Despite seeming empty to the naked eye, the area houses vast ancient treasures beneath its sand. It was here 117 years ago, that Sweden explorer Sven Anders Hedin found Buddhist relics in the area.
Zhang Yuzhong, Fmr Deputy Director of Xinjiang Archaeology Institute, said, "Prior to his trip, we all believe that there was no human activity in this desert. Hedin stayed here for 2 weeks. He discovered and marked 18 signs of ancient houses here. He also found some books from the Tang Dynasty."
Four years later, he returned to the desert to search for more treasures. During this trip, he discovered the ancient city of Loulan.
Zhang Yuzhong said, "The ancient city of Loulan was the capital of Loulan country in the Han Dynasty. It was built earlier than Dandanulik. We believe that the two discoveries mark a milestone in the archaeological history of Xinjiang."
In 1910, Xiaohe or the little river Tomb complex was discovered 175 kilometres away from the ancient city of Loulan.
In 1979, a 4000-year-old female corpse and the Ancient Tomb Valley of Kongque River was discovered at the ancient city of Loulan.
In 1995, Shu Tapestry, the best Chinese silk from Sichuan was discovered in the Ancient City of Niya in the desert. It was marked as one of the ten most important discoveries in China that year.
And the work hasn’t stopped. Archaeologists are now scouring the desert again to unearth the country’s ancient past.


New archaeological expedition in the Taklamakan Desert (1)

Kick- off new Chinese expedition inside the Taklamakan Desert

CCTV, 15-2-2013


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Our reporter Wu Lei, has just set off with a group of experts on an excavation trip into the Taklamakan desert. Let’s cross over to him for more details.
Hello, Wu Lei. Thanks for joining us. What are the experts hoping to find during this trip?
Could you please introduce us to the team of experts you’re following?




CCTV, 15-2-2013

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By CCTV reporter Wu Lei
Among all the places bordering the Taklamakan desert, Damagou township has found the largest quantity of ancient Buddhist relics and the best preserved ones. But it is the vast desert that has proven challenging for the local relics protection department.
Heading north of Damagou township, we came to the southern edge of the Taklamakan desert. There is no fixed road, only a rough pass between sand dunes.
Nearly all the Buddhist relics and historical ruins in the Damagou area were covered by the desert and huge bushes of rose willows. This willow bush looks like any other, but a great number of Buddhist murals were found beneath it. It was named Abas Ruins.
Among all the places bordering the Taklamakan desert, Damagou township has found the
largest quantity of ancient Buddhist relics and the best preserved ones.
A few years ago, a local man named Abas found some relics under this ruin when he was searching for dried rose willows. But unfortunately, illegal treasure hunters came earlier than the archeologists.
Many murals and relics were stolen and damaged. Since then, the local relics protection department began to hire more locals to inspect the ruins. 41 year old Abudu Kadier is one of the five inspectors. He and his colleagues need to check the sand dunes and willow bushes everyday. And he finds some newly exposed murals every once in a while.
Abudu Kadier, Relics Inspector of Cultural Relic Protection Dept., Cele County, said, "When we find relics, we need to inform our department immediately. After our colleagues come, we continue inspections and update the department on the situation here everyday."
Many murals and relics were stolen and damaged. Since then, the local relics protection
department began to hire more locals to inspect the ruins.
Abas ruin is only one of the current 20 ruins in the whole area. Yet, there are still many secrets covered by the desert.
Lu Shehui, Secretary of Cultural Relic Protection Dept., Cele County, said, "It is possible to find this kind of buddhist mural beneath every sand dune. Because the wind or local villagers can remove the sand unexpectedly, the mural appears from time to time."
The sand in the Taklamakan desert moves very quickly with the wind. The most recent found murals were exposed probably due to days of blowing wind. According to procedure, they need to rebury the murals with sands for further protection.
Among all the places bordering the Taklamakan desert, Damagou
township has found the largest quantity of ancient Buddhist
relics and the best preserved ones.
Lu Shehui, said, We used to inspect all the relic ruins by walking or riding camels, but now the conditions are better and we have equiped all the inspectors with motorcycles.
Because of the increasing number of thefts and illegal excavations in the last 3 years, the local relics protection department has increased inspectors’ salaries to 1000 yuan per month, and given a motorcycle to each one.
This has been a huge effort for a poverty-stricken county. But for the almost 200 relic sites in the Damagou area, there are only 5 inspectors in total. It is far from enough to fully protect the ancient treasures. Wu Lei, CCTV, Damagou Township, Xinjiang Uygur Autonoums Region.
Many murals and relics were stolen and damaged. Since then, the local relics protection
department began to hire more locals to inspect the ruins.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Paikend

I happened to come across this article about Paikend at the site of the Hermitage Museum of Sint Petersburg:





Amridin Berdimuradov, Director of the Institute of Archaeology, Uzbekistan, and Svetlana Adaksina, Chief Curator of the State Hermitage Museum

Paikend city wall dating 7th to 11th century

Paikend dig

Chor-Minor Madrassah

Bukhara Oasis in Antiquity and the Middle Ages: International Conference in Bukhara

From 22 to 24 August 2011, an International Conference "Bukhara Oasis in Antiquity and the Middle Ages" was held in Bukhara to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the expedition to Paikend carried out by the State Hermitage Museum and the Institute of Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences, Uzbekistan.
Paikend, which was the expedition’s research subject, is one of the most interesting and well studied archaeological sites in Central Asia, and, in many respects, can be considered to be an exemplary monument to the period of the developed Middle Ages. This town, which was a major trade point on the Silk Road as well as a centre of Islamic learning and is mentioned in many medieval sources including in Shahnama, attracted scholarly attention long ago. Archaeological digs began in Paikend in the 1930s but were interrupted by World War II. A joint expedition was organised by the State Hermitage Museum and the Institute of Archaeology, Uzbekistan in 1981. The dig was for many years led by Grigory Semyonov from the Hermitage, who was a renowned expert on the archaeology of Central Asia and was in charge of the Hermitage’s Oriental Department. He left an indelible mark on both the history of science and of the museum and was a man of enormous creativity and great charm. The Ñonference was dedicated to his memory.
During its existence, the Bukhara expedition included large-scale archaeological research in Paikend, and discovered and studied various examples of religious and civil architecture. The research results attracted the attention of experts from all over the world, and the many finds enriched the collection of the Bukhara State Museum of Architecture and Arts. A major achievement was the opening of a branch of the museum in Paikend in 2002, with many exhibits to be envied by any museum in the world. The museum’s new exhibition was opened during the Ñonference after repair and reconstruction.
Conference members heard about 30 reports related to the history, archaeology, ethnography, and writing of Central Asia.

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Just recently Don Croner visited this site  again and took a large quantity of detailed photo's.

Please have a look, quite interesting. What do you think of this beautiful pottery vessel?
"Locals are still uncovering artifacts from the ruins. This young man has a pottery vessel which an archeologist whom I consulted said was used to store mercury. Apparently there are other examples in museums. Among its many other uses, mercury was used in processing gold, and was exceeding valuable in Sogdian times. Shards of common pottery are found everywhere within the ruins." 


   



DON CRONER’S WORLD WIDE WANDERS

“CONCEAL THY TENETS, THY TREASURE, AND THY TRAVELS.” — HASSAN SABBAH (C.1050-1124)


Uzbekistan | Bukhara Oasis | Paikend FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2013

In a post about the Early Sogdian History of the Bukhara Oasis I mentioned the ancient cities of Paikend and Varakhsha. I would be remiss if I did not make a few more observations about Paikend, known during its prime as “the city of merchants”, or “the copper town” (apparently for the quality of its copperware). Located at the southern entranceway to the Bukhara Oasis, Paikend may well be older than Bukhara itself, and for much of the first millenium a.d. may have been the more important of the two cities. It was the first major city in Sogdiana north of the Amu Darya River and most caravans that crossed the Amu Darya at Amol would have passed through the city. Through Amol it was linked to Merv in Khorasan and the great Silk Road cities of the Iranian Plateau and Mesopotamia beyond. From the east much of the caravan trade from China, Mongolia, and East Turkestan (now Xinjiang Province, China), would have been funneled through the city. Paikend was also famous for its locally produced silk, glassware, copperware, pottery, armor, and weapons. Chinese, Arab, Indian, Afghani, Persian, and European merchants could be found searching for bargains in the city’s marts and roistering in the less salubrious districts. 
Bukhara-Paikend-Amol Route (click on images for enlargements)
On source suggests that since so many of the men are often out of town on trade missions the city itself was garrisoned at least in part by women. Girls were taught horseback riding and archery from an earlier age.  Finely carved bone rings found in the ruins baffled archeologists for years before it was determined that women wore them on their middle fingers as a guard when drawing a bow string. Famously independent, the women of the city were known to pick out their own husbands and may have engaged in polyandry, a practice not unknown in societies where one husband could be gone for years at a time on trade expeditions and a spare or two would come in handy. 

As mentioned in an earlier post about the Arab Invasions of Sogdiana, Paikend was invaded by Islamic armies in the first decade of the eighth century and thoroughly plundered. Enormous amounts of booty were seized, including armor and weapons the quality of which amazed the Arabs. Ephemeral sources also indicate that numerous gold and silver “idols” were also looted and melted down for their metal. Whether these were Buddhist statues or those of some indigenous religion is not clear. Buddhism was certainly known and probably practiced in Paikend, along with a host of other religions, including Zoroastrianism and Nestorian Christianity. The city did recover and was rebuilt, as demonstrated by the remains of the mosque and minaret built after the Arab conquest. Presumably the city was no longer garrisoned by women after the arrive of Islam. 

The Tenth-Century Historian Narshakhi wrote that the merchants of the city had become extremely rich on account of the trade with China, and that any trader from the region who went to Baghdad was more likely to brag that he was from Paikend than from Bukhara. At one time nearly 1000 ribats, or caravanserais, surrounded the city. The record is far from unclear, but apparently Paikend fell from grace due to the lowering water table which left the city, which sits on a low rise, high and dry. In the early twelfth-century the Khwarezmshah Arslan attempted to revive Paikend by supplying it with water via a new canal, but construction of the waterway proved to be too difficult and the project was eventually abandoned. Today Paikend is in ruins, but traces of its former greatness can still be seen, and if you listen very carefully you can still hear the muted laughter of women from the city’s battlements. 
Watchtowers in the old city wall were located about 180 feet from each other

To see all photo's, go to the site of Don Croner and click on one of them, to see them all enlarged

An English boy in Chinese Turkestan










From Chinese manuscripts by Imre Galambos


I just received a hard copy of this paper and am putting it up a PDF so it is more accessible. The paper is about the young English boy who travelled with Tachibana Zuicho to Western China in 1910 on an archaeological expedition, and who appears in Peter Hopkirk’s book Foreign Devils on the Silk Road as “A. O. Hobbs.” Although almost nothing was known about him, I managed to dig up some additional information, including his family background and some forgotten details about the expeditions.
Here is the bibliographic information:
Imre Galambos. “An English boy in Chinese Turkestan: The story of Orlando Hobbs”.Studia Orientalia Slovaca 10/1 (2011), pp. 81-98.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Conserving the Diamond Sutra


The British Library recently completed a decade-long project to conserve the oldest dated printed book in the work, a scroll copy in Chinese of the Buddhist text, The Diamond Sutra from the Silk Road town of Dunhuang dated to May 868. This short film, made by the International Dunhuang Project at the British Library, tells of the story of the sutra scroll, its science and its conservation.


Source: International DunHuang Project

Mogao Grottoes murals prepped for digital display

By xujunqian@chinadaily.com.cn    Hangzou, 6  February, 2013

Mogao Grottoes murals prepped for digital display
Diao Changyu talks about the "digital mural file cabinet" in Zhejiang University, Hangzhou. Photos by Gao Er'qiang / China Daily
For decades, archaeologist Li Zhirong of Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, has been frustrated with her study of China's Buddhist archaeology - or to be more precise, the hundreds of murals in Mogao Gottoes in Dunhuang, Gansu province.
These murals, exuberant with color and movement, dating back thousands of years, await study by scholars. But they are gradually rotting away in the adverse weather conditions of the desert. Another threat: moisture from the likes of human breath.
But a couple of years ago, Li started to work with scholar Diao Changyu and things started to improve. By the end of December 2012, more than 50 of Mogao's fragile colorful murals had been preserved in digital images, an important milestone for the conservation of one of the world's most precious historical relics.
Mogao Grottoes murals prepped for digital display
"The most urgent thing for the so-called cultural heritage study at current stage is not to research, but to record," says Li, a student of Su Bai, a famous archaeologist and a pioneer of China's Buddhist archaeology.
"Most of the field survey of Chinese Buddhist archaeology was conducted half a century ago, by foreigners. But with the help of scientific technology, we can catch up with the passing time a little bit."
In 2010, Zhejiang University and Dunhuang Academy teamed up to build a "digital mural file cabinet". The plan is to digitize a minimum of 60 murals within three years.
Mogao Grottoes murals prepped for digital display
A digital image of part of a Mogao Grottoes mural. Photos by Gao Er'qiang / China Daily
An exhibition of images of the digitized murals is expected to go on public display early this year at Zhejiang University, allowing people to have a closer look at the glorious art without damaging relics with every exhaled breath.
It's like recreating the environment and conditions of Mogao Grottoes by having a lot of video cameras set at the scene. According to Diao, assistant to director of the Research Center of Archaeometry in Zhejiang University, it is different from taking separate pictures of the objects one by one, because it also accurately records, for example, the distance between two objects, their locations and the process of its discovery.
Diao and his team use a combination of cameras and rails. As the rails extend, the cameras can automatically record mural images at various heights and of different sizes. The picture processing software can reproduce the mural with high accuracy. "The technology not only allows us to preserve what our ancestors left behind before it's taken away by time, but also shows the public how magnificent they are," Li says.
On the ancient Silk Road, the Mogao Grottoes were first constructed in 366 AD. One of the world's richest museums of Buddhist art, the site houses 45,000 square meters of murals and more than 2,000 painted sculptures in its 492 grottoes.
Zhang Jianmin contributed to the story.
Source: China Daily

Friday, 1 February 2013

1,300-year-old tomb cluster discovered on Pamirs Plateau

Xinhua, February 1, 2013
Chinese archaeologists have unearthed an unidentified cluster of 102 tombs, 40 percent of which were made for infants, on the Pamirs Plateau in the westernmost part of the country.
The tombs, found in Kezilesu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, contain wooden caskets with desiccated corpses, as well as stoneware, pottery and copper ware believed to have been buried as sacrificial items, said Ai Tao from the Xinjiang Archaeological Institute.
"The cluster covers an area of 1,500 square meters on a 20-meter-high cliff, an unusual location for tombs," Ai said.
He added that his team was also very surprised to find such a large number of infant corpses. "But further research is needed to determine why so many people from that tribe died young."
Archaeologists said they have also unearthed a large number of well-preserved utensils made from gourds, some of which were placed inside the caskets.
"The burial custom is the first of its kind to be found in Xinjiang," said Ai.
It is believed that the cluster dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907). At that time, economic and cultural exchanges between China and the West flourished via the ancient Silk Road. '
"The shape of the felt-covered caskets show that sinic culture had a great influence on the lives of local people's some 1,300 years ago," said Yu Zhiyong, head of the Xinjiang Archaeological Institute.
The tomb cluster was discovered amid the construction of a local hydropower project last year.
Kezilesu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture was an important pass on the ancient Silk Road.

Inscription hints at Buddhist treasures



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Also uncovered near the 240 Buddhist statues was an underground room, housing a small coffin. At the bottom of the coffin was a square-shaped brick with a clear inscription on it.
The characters on the brick mark its origins. It says the inscription was carved in 1013, exactly one-thousand years ago. It also says the coffin contains two thousand pieces of Buddha's remains that were collected by two monks from a nearby temple.
The characters on the brick mark its origins. It says the inscription was carved in 1013,
exactly one-thousand years ago. It also says the coffin contains two thousand pieces of
Buddha's remains that were collected by two monks from a nearby temple.
Chu Shibin, former director of Gansu Provincial Museum, said, “This coffin is made of ceramic. We haven’t found ceramic coffins before. We have only found metal and wooden and silver ones.”
The ceramic coffin has already been broken, and seems to contain a wooden box inside. But because it’s covered by mud, further excavation is still needed to determine if, like the brick inscription says, there are indeed 2,000 pieces of Buddhist remains inside.
Chu said, “Each piece of the remains might be very tiny, so it’s possible there are 2,000 pieces in total.”
Buddhist remains are normally buried in an underground room under a pagoda. Archaeologists here have also found another buried chamber above the statues. What objects it contains, and from what era, we will have to wait to discover.

Ancient Buddha statues found by Silk Road



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A large number of Buddha statues have been unearthed at a historical site in the northwest of the country. The site is located in Gansu Province alongside the ancient Silk Road. Experts say this excavation could shed new light on Buddhism in the Song Dynasty some seven hundred to a thousand years ago.
These Buddhist statues have been underground for up to a thousand years.
They were found in Jingchuan County in Gansu Province, by the ancient Silk Road. More than 240 of them were found in a cellar. The statues date back to various dynasties in ancient China, with a time span of about 600 years. The oldest one was made in the Northern Dynasties, about a thousand five hundred years ago.
A large number of Buddha statues have been unearthed at a historical site in Gansu Province,
the northwest of the country.
But the statues are believed to have been buried hundreds of years later, in the Song Dynasty, which spanned from 960 AD to 1279. Almost every one of the statues is broken.
Archaeologist Zhang Junmin said, "It’s a Buddhist convention. When statues of the Buddha were broken, the monks would bury them together, instead of just throwing them away. "
Most of the statues have been taken to Jingchuan County museum. Archaeologists have flocked to the site to examine the findings.
Archaeologist Wei Wenbin said, "These statues are priceless. Look at this one, the outline is very smooth and beautiful. Such skills could date back to the Northern Dynasties. The excavation could shed some light on the development of Buddhism in ancient China."
Jingchuan County was a military stronghold in ancient times. It was also one of the centres of Buddhism in Northwest China, which especially flourished in China during the Tang Dynasty, well over a thousand years ago.
A large number of Buddha statues have been unearthed at a historical site in Gansu Province,
the northwest of the country.
A large number of Buddha statues have been unearthed at a historical site in Gansu Province,
the northwest of the country.
A large number of Buddha statues have been unearthed at a historical
site in Gansu Province, the northwest of the country.