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Paintings in the Buddhist Monasteries of Kucha.

 Kizil Cave 212. Seefahrerhöhle after Grünwedel 1920 pl. 19-20-1
Kizil Cave 212. Seefahrerhöhle after Grünwedel 1920 pl. 19-20-1

by Monika Zin, Research Team Leader of the Saxon Academy of Sciences (Leipzig) Research Center for Buddhist Murals of Kucha.

The spread of Indian culture into Central Asia was the focus of key research conducted by German scholars during and after the so-called “Turfan Expeditions” of 1902-1914. Their exploration of Buddhist cave paintings in the region of Kucha yielded artifacts as well as the discovery of manuscripts in Sanskrit. China spearheaded further research in this area after the Cultural Revolution. But because of their unfamiliarity with the German language, Chinese scholars largely ignored the works of German academics and relied on their own sources for interpretations of the paintings. To date, however, questions remain that can only be answered by considering the findings of both Western and Chinese scholars. In addition, a study of Indian (not only Gandharan) tradition appears to be crucial for the analysis of the paintings in Kucha.


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