Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Song For A Future Generation

Song For A Future Generation

That is a song sung 95 generations ago which sits atop a hill in Brentwood under a tent at the Getty Center. If you think of the Mogao cave paintings as songs that’s a better way of interpreting them than dull prose and you slip easily under their spell, bizarre, fantastic, and wonderful. The ideas behind these murals are stories from Buddhism when Buddhism entered present day China from India through the Silk Road. The Silk Road, the internet of its day, spread not just silk and goods and people but ideas across the globe. And consider this: the day of the Silk Road lasted at least a thousand years.

What’s sobering is that the stories these paintings tell are the issues of today like sympathy and understanding over ignorance. So here we are in present day Los Angeles, so privileged to be able to experience these marvelous works, recreated to scale, exactly as they appear in Dunhuang. And summer nights, Friday and Saturday at the Getty Center are the best: no crowds, live music, and the cool of the night. Failing that here’s a taste, some images, links to videos, and the Getty site itself. I hope you will enjoy.

In China this is what the exterior of the caves looks like.

Also in China near the caves this charming and hokey stage recreation of the paintings.


  1. oh how wonderful! this is at the Getty? is it permanent? I really need to visit

    1. Hi Lynne, It's a temporary exhibit, you have until the beginning of Sept.

  2. i have hidden away a ton of photos of a temple in Kyoto, encrusted with copies of Chinese Buddhist cave murals. I don't think they are the same as these. It took me about 3 hours to pry myself out of the place. so much to learn


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