IDP - International Dunhuang Project: The Silk Road Online

The International Dunhuang Project ... "provides resources to all levels of users from schoolchildren to post-doctoral researchers. It offers a springboard for collaboration. [...] Little was known of the remarkable heritage of the Silk Road until explorers and archaeologists of the early twentieth century uncovered the ruins of ancient cities in the desert sands, revealing astonishing sculptures, murals and manuscripts. One of the most notable discoveries was the Buddhist cave library near the oasis town of Dunhuang on the edge of the Gobi desert in western China. The cave had been sealed and hidden at the end of the first millennium AD and only re-discovered in 1900. Forty thousand manuscripts, paintings and printed documents on paper and silk were found in the cave itself. Tens of thousands more items were excavated from other Silk Road archaeological sites. These unique items have fascinating stories to tell of life on this great trade route from 100 BC to AD 1400. Yet most were dispersed to institutions worldwide in the early 1900s, making access difficult. [...] IDP's directorate was established at the British Library [...]

Much of IDP's early work focused on conservation and cataloguing, both of which remain core activities. These have been supplemented in the past few years with digitisation, education and research. IDP started digitising the manuscripts in 1997 with the aim of bringing together the collections in virtual space. Its web site went online in October 1998 and allows free access to the IDP DATABASE with high-quality images of the manuscripts and other material, with cataloguing and contextual information. In this way, Silk Road material is becoming increasingly available to academic and general users alike. [...] IDP is [...] providing information on tens of thousands of paintings, artefacts, textiles, manuscripts, historical photographs and maps as well as cataloguing and contextual information. More data is added to the site every day (see statistics). All the data and images are freely accessible to all. Search the IDP database here.

[...] IDP resources were an essential part of the British Library's 2004 exhibition: 'The Silk Road: Trade, Travel, War and Faith', which explored cultural diversity and interaction on the Silk Road. [... ]

The following institutions are involved in IDP's work, as founder members or collaborating institutions:

Last update

Saturday, 17 March 2012 - 10:29pm
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