Gansu Grottoes: Archaeology Heritage Survey Mapping

Program Details & Highlights
Program Description

In ancient times, Buddhists made caves on remote mountains into shrines filled with carvings, sculptures and other religious art to practice their religion. These caves were developed as places for Buddhist pilgrimage. The elegant statues and fantastic mural paintings show you the high level of art in ancient China. But not all of the grottoes are well researched and studied.

Keru invited Dr. Neil Schmid to lead Keru students to Heshui County, Gansu Province to conduct caves research. Dr. Neil Schmid is the Scholar-in-Residence at the Dunhuang Academy and he is one of the world’s leading authorities on medieval Buddhism’s visual culture. The primary goal of these in-person field visits will be to both conduct basic site survey research and to record key information points using the ARCHES software, enabling researchers and other culture preservationists the unique opportunity access new information in this region. A secondary objective will be for the team to conduct face-to-face interviews with local people to provide a foundation for oral histories within these site areas. Participation on this project will have significant impact in the field of cultural preservation data mapping. With the support of The Ghetty Art Museum and the World Monuments Fund, our Keru research team consisting of professionals, academics and students will work collaboratively to travel to unrecorded or unfamiliar archeological sites of cultural and of religious significance within the greater Gansu regions.
Local Partner 

The Keru Research Team functions as a data-driven think tank for solutions and insights to development issues. Based on partnerships with governments, non-profits, social enterprises and other community actors, our research team is active in rural China and Southeast Asia, and focuses on a wide range of topics related to the UN sustainable development goals. Our outputs include research papers, concept notes, innovative solution proposals, and white papers.
Content Expert
Dr. David Neil Schmid

Neil Schmid is Research Professor at the Dunhuang Academy, and he is one of the world’s leading authorities on medieval Buddhism’s visual culture. He studied Chinese and Linguistics at Georgetown University, and Buddhist and Dunhuang Studies at Waseda University in Tokyo, l’École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris, and the University of Pennsylvania where he earned his PhD. He specializes in Silk Road and Buddhist Studies with an emphasis on the archaeological sites of Dunhuang. Neil has also served as consultant for international arts programming and museum exhibitions, as well as expert for Tencent and Discovery Channel documentaries.
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