Dunhuang is an oasis lying at the crossroads where the northern and southern branches of the Silk Road meet. The discovery and excavation of a huge number of Buddhist art objects in the Mogao caves and the ancient Chinese manuscripts in the Library Cave indicate that Dunhuang is one of the major gateways to ancient Chinese civilisation. The study of Dunhuang is indispensable in the research of Chinese History. This course aims to (1) Provide students with historical knowledge of Dunhuang in the aspects of literature, art and religion; (2) Enhance students’ abilities in interpreting ancient Chinese documents; (3) Strengthen the training in appreciating sculpture, mural paintings and frescoes in different caves for students; and (4) Deepen students’ knowledge and skills to collect, integrate, analyse, apply and utilise different resources for the study of Dunhuang.
The course contents encompass four major aspects, including (i) The History of Dunhuang, (ii) The Art of the Mogao Grottoes, (iii) The Chinese Manuscripts found in the Library Cave and (iv) The Present and Future of Dunhuang.