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November 10, 2020

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Saving lost Mogao cave art digitally

Chinese researchers plan to digitalize cultural relics that were taken overseas from the famed Mogao Grottoes more than a century ago.

The relics excavated from the Library Cave in the Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes will be digitalized, Luo Huaqing, deputy director of the Dunhuang Academy, said at an academic conference on Saturday.

Through international cooperation, a database will be built on the basis of digital collection of cultural relics. “On the premise of protecting intellectual property rights, the sharing of digital resources will be realized worldwide,” said Luo.

The Library Cave in Mogao Grottoes was discovered in 1900, with around 60,000 rare cultural relics unearthed. About 40,000 pieces have been lost to more than 10 countries including Britain, France, Russia and Japan.

Digital technology provides an important way to share and return Dunhuang documents. Britain and France shared Dunhuang cultural relics resources in digital form with China in 1994 and 2015 respectively.

By visiting the website “Digital Dunhuang” launched by Dunhuang Academy in 2016, visitors around the world can be immersed in the images of murals across 30 caves.

Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes are a 1,600-year-old UNESCO world heritage site. Located at a cultural and religious crossroads on the ancient Silk Road, they are also known as the Thousand Buddha Grottoes.


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