The Dunhuang Museum is located in the downtown area of Dunhuang
City. It is situated in a three storey building which covers an area
of 2,400 square meters (about 25,834 square feet). In front of the
museum stand a group of carved figures depicting people leading
their camels as they travel along the Silk Road.
Generally speaking, all of the exhibits in the museum are displayed
in three sections. In the first section the written sutras from the
No.17 cave of the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang are shown. The written
sutras are real evidence of Buddhist activities in Chinese history.
In the second section next to the sutras a selection of the relics
excavated from the graves in the Han Dynasty (206B.C.-220), Jin
Dynasty (265-420), Sui Dynasty (581-618), and Tang Dynasty (618-907)
are displayed. In this section you will see the stone pagoda,
pottery box and stone beast figure which was set in a grave and
believed to drive the monsters or evil away. Kylin brick is a
special kind of brick carved in high relief (a method of carving in
which the design stands out from the flat surface) containing an
incised inscription. Kylin is a mythical unicorn in Chinese legends
and it was carved on the brick so vividly that it seems to gallop
and fly. As an important city on the Silk Road, Dunhuang once was a
major trade center in Western China. The third section of the
display holds a number of exhibits which illustrate Dunhuang's
flourishing culture including some exquisite silk floret brocade and
bamboo slips used for writing. Additionally, iron and bronze tools
and weapons are also displayed.
The museum also exhibits relics excavated from the local area, such
as paper, coins, a model of the Great Wall as it appeared during the
Han Dynasty and a torch from one of its beacon towers. There is a
special room for the paintings and calligraphy work of well-known
artists through the ages. This room also holds priceless hand-copied
books on ancient geography, military history and sutras written in
the Tibetan language.
The Dunhuang Museum reflects the flourishing social development and
cultural exchange between China and the West during the time when
Dunhuang was a major center along the Silk Road. A trip to the
Dunhuang Museum will provide visitors with a greater understanding
of the history and culture of the Chinese people and their ancient
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