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Spirit of the Silk Road: Dunhuang Art Exhibition and Treasures from the Land of Abundance and the Silk Road


Spirit of the Silk Road: Dunhuang Art Exhibition and Treasures from the Land of Abundance and the Silk Road

Exhibition Date

December 27, 2016 – April 10, 2017

Exhibition Venue

No. 1 Temporary Exhibition Hall, 1F, No. 2 and No. 3 Temporary Exhibition Halls on -1F, and Temporary Exhibition Hall at 3F.

This exhibition is organized in the Temporary Exhibition Hall and public space on each floor of the Chengdu Museum. Large amounts of high-level exhibits and an exhibition area of over 5,000 square meters make it the largest cultural exhibition with a Silk Road theme in Sichuan. It aims to fully demonstrate Dunhuang art and the pivotal role that Sichuan, the Land of Abundance, played in the process of initiating, developing and prospering the Silk Road, and enhance Sichuan’s cultural influence.

In term of content, it is divided into two parts:

The first part is the “Dunhuang Art Exhibition”, which further falls into 4 sections, i.e. The Magnificence of Grottoes, The Legend of Dunhuang, From Kizil to Maijishan, and Never-ending Story. It presents the essence of Dunhuang art primarily from the Dunhuang grottoes, murals, and painted sculptures.

The second part is “Treasures from the Land of Abundance and the Silk Road”, which further falls into 4 sections as well, i.e. Origin of Tianfu Silk, Chengdu — the Starting Point of the Southern Silk Road, Land of Abundance and Northern Silk Road, and Land of Abundance and Maritime Silk Road. By displaying 206 sets of precious cultural relics (146 sets of precious cultural relics and 105 sets of first-class cultural relics) from 72 cultural institutions and museums in autonomous regions and municipalities along the terrestrial and maritime routes of the Silk Road, it showcases the splendid culture inherited in the Land of Abundance and Silk Road and highlights Sichuan’s irreplaceable role in the Silk Road.

(I) Project performance and objective completion status

The exhibition has received 1.08 million visitors in total, exerting a favorable social effect and influence. 

More than 100 interpreters from Chengdu Museum, Dunhuang Academy China, Xinjiang Qiuci Grottoes Institute, and Maiji Mountain Grottoes Art Research Institute provided free professional interpretation services for thousands upon thousands of times. Concurrently, a free WeChat audio guide in Chinese, English, Japanese, French, and Korean is also available. Through the visitor’s comments, we can see the high praise visitors have for the exhibition and interpretation services, as well as their excitement for acquiring knowledge and information, reflecting well on the project’s social impact.

The exhibition incited attention far across society. There were mammoth publicity on print media, television, live telecasts, and WeChat official accounts as well as frequent coverage by media at the municipal, provincial, and national levels; Chengdu Museum posted hundreds of articles on we-media, receiving nearly 1 million views. The headline article Spirit of the Silk Road: Dunhuang Art Exhibition: A Phenomenal Cultural Supply-side Reform Trial by Sichuan Daily on April 17, 2017 gave full affirmation to this exhibition. Harmonious Coexistence Benefiting the World: Spirit of the Silk Road Special Exhibition and the Land of Abundance and Silk Road Seminar by People’s Daily (12th edition on April 16, 2017) also covered this exhibition.

(II) Realization of Objectives

1. Realizing the objective to promote silk road cultur

This project has successfully promoted silk road culture, displayed Dunhuang art and highlighted Chengdu’s role on the Silk Road, bringing a cultural feast to visitors and fulfilling the museum’s function as a social educator.

2. Realizing the objective to publicize the Chengdu Museum

The project, with its original exhibition designs and abundant cultural information, demonstrates the determination and competence of the Chengdu Museum to commit itself to social development services, further uplifting Chengdu Museum’s image.

3. Enriching the public’s spiritual and cultural lives

This exhibition attracted over 1 million visitors, earning it the temporary exhibition with the largest visitor number in the history of Chengdu. It greatly enriched the public’s spiritual and cultural lives.

4. Further promoting exchanges and cooperation among museums. This exhibition’s success is also attributed to the strong support from over one hundred fellow cultural institutions and museums. When planning the exhibition, Chengdu Museum was in contact with other museums in and out of Sichuan, who contributed greatly to enriching the exhibition content and collecting materials. By integrating respective resource advantages, the exhibit loans among museums made the exhibition even more comprehensive and diversified and further enhanced the museum’s ability to serve social development and provide more quality cultural products.

5. Providing a great chance for the Chengdu Museum staff to practice. A large-scale exhibition requires precise coordination between each department in the Museum, and massive efforts on exhibition curation, installment, operations under pressure and unknown difficulties. With senior staff guiding the new recruits, it not only trained the team, but also bettered relationships between each department, which laid a critical organizational foundation for future exhibition operations.

This exhibition is supported by National Cultural Heritage Administration, hosted by the Publicity Department of Sichuan Provincial Party Committee, Publicity Department of Gansu Provincial Party Committee, co-organized by Sichuan Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism (Sichuan Cultural Relics Administration), Gansu Administration of Cultural Heritage, Publicity Department of the CPC Chengdu Municipal Committee, Chengdu Culture, Radio and TV, Press and Publication Bureau (Chengdu Cultural Relics Administration), Cultural Arts Development Foundation of Sichuan Province, The Palace Museum, Institute of Archaeology CASS, Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Heritage Administration, Henan Provincial Bureau of Cultural Relics, Hubei Provincial Bureau of Cultural Relics, Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage, Shanghai Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage, Tianjin Municipal Cultural Heritage Administration, Chongqing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage, Hebei Culture Relics Bureau, China, Shanxi Culture Relics Bureau, China, Cultural Relics Bureau of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Liaoning Provincial Cultural Heritage Administration, Jiangsu Province Bureau of Cultural Relics, Nanjing Municipal Cultural Heritage Administration, Cultural Heritage Bureau of Zhejiang Province, Anhui Provincial Cultural Heritage Administration, Fujian Provincial Cultural Heritage Administration, Shandong Provincial Cultural Heritage Administration, Zhengzhou Municipal Cultural Heritage Administration, Luoyang Municipal Cultural Heritage Administration, Hunan Provincial Bureau of Cultural Heritage, Guangdong Provincial Cultural Heritage Administration, Cultural Relics Bureau of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Hainan Provincial Cultural Heritage Administration, Guizhou Provincial Cultural Heritage Bureau, Yunnan Provincial Cultural Heritage Administration, Cultural Relics Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region, Xi’an Municipal Cultural Heritage Administration, Qinghai Provincial Cultural Heritage Administration, Cultural Relics Bureau of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Bureau of Cultural Heritage, Capital Museum, Poly Art Museum, Shanghai Museum, Tianjin Museum, Chongqing China Three Gorges Museum, Hebei Museum, Shanxi Museum, Inner Mongolia Museum, Inner Mongolia Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Liaoning Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Chaoyang Beita Museum, Nanjing Museum, Nanjing Museum Administration (Nanjing Municipal Museum, The Oriental Metropolitan Museum), Nanjing Yunjin Museum of China, Yangzhou Museum, Zhejiang Provincial Museum, Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Ningbo Museum, Office of Cultural Relics Management Committee of Yinzhou District, Ningbo, Suzhou Silk Museum, Anhui Museum, Ma’anshan Cemetery of Zhu Ran Family Museum, Fujian Museum, Shandong Museum, Institute of Archaeology CASS in Anyang, Henan Museum, Zhengzhou City Cultural Relic Institute, Luoyang Museum, Luoyang City Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute, Hubei Provincial Museum, Jingzhou Museum, Hunan Museum, Guangdong Museum, Guangdong Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Maritime Silk Road Museum of Guangdong, Museum of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Hainan Museum, Guizhou Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Zunyi Museum, Yunnan Provincial Museum, Kunming Museum, Lijiashan Bronze Ware Museum of Yunnan, Zhaotong Museum, Tibet Museum, Shaanxi History Museum, Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology, Xi’an Museum, Xi’an Municipal Institute of Archaeology and Cultural Relics Protection, Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, Baoji Bronze Ware Museum, Gansu Provincial Museum, Gansu Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Dunhuang Museum, Maiji Mountain Grottoes Art Research Institute, Qinghai Provincial Museum, Qinghai Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region Museum, Guyuan Museum of Ningxia, Xinjiang Museum, Xinjiang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Xinjiang Qiuci Grottoes Institute, Sichuan Museum, Sichuan University Museum, Sanxingdui Museum, Museum of Yi Nationality Autonomous Prefecture of Liangshan, Huili Cultural Relic Management Office, Chengdu Shu Brocade and Embroidery Museum, Chengdu Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, and undertook by Dunhuang Academy China, Chengdu Museum, Sichuan External Cultural Exchange Center.