Archival Program Information
For current Research Institute events, please see The Getty Event Calendar

Lecture Series


These events complement the exhibition Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China's Silk Road, on view at the Getty Center from May 7 to September 4, 2016.

 

painting detail from Cave 85, Tang dynasty
 
Dunhuang as Nexus of the Silk Road during the Middle Ages
Lecture by Victor H. Mair
Thursday, May 19, 2016
7:00 p.m.
Museum Lecture Hall, Getty Center

Dunhuang, China, figured prominently in linking diverse civilizations across Eurasia during the Tang dynasty (618–907 CE). Professor Victor H. Mair discusses this center of Buddhist religion and art and its role in facilitating the flow of economic goods and cultural influences among peoples of many different ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.

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sculpture of a seated buddha / Cave 45, Tang dynasty
 
Cave Temples of Dunhuang: History, Art, and Materiality
Symposium
Day 1: Friday, May 20, 2016
9:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Museum Lecture Hall, Getty Center

Day 2: Saturday, May 21, 2016
9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

This two-day symposium features more than 20 international scholars whose presentations on the Mogao Grottoes explore the unique confluence of historical perspectives, spiritual content, artistic practice, and innovative approaches to conservation. Sessions address the media of wall paintings and manuscripts as well as the iconographic themes of the caves, particularly their deep and layered Buddhist content.

Please note: This is the first day of a two-day symposium, taking place at the Getty Center and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). A separate reservation is required for each day.

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celestial musician / Cave 285
 
East and West of Dunhuang: Music Carried on the Wind
Concert
Friday, May 20, 2016
7:30 p.m.
Harold M. Williams Auditorium, Getty Center

Join master musicians and scholar-performers from the University of California for a musical journey through the cultures that came together to shape the Dunhuang caves and that are illustrated in the wall paintings. Musical traditions from China, India, the Middle East, and Central Asia will bring the Silk Road vibrantly to life.

Presented in collaboration with the World Music Center at UCLA and the UCLA Confucius Institute.

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ink drawing of a seated buddha
 
The Diamond Sutra: A Story of Printing, Piety, and Preservation on the Silk Road
Lecture by Susan Whitfield
Sunday, June 5, 2016
4:00 p.m.
Harold M. Williams Auditorium, Getty Center

Susan Whitfield, the director of the International Dunhuang Project, takes us on a journey of exploration of the many facets of the Diamond Sutra (a sacred Mahayana Buddhist text), which dates from 868 and is the world's oldest dated complete printed book.

This lecture is made possible by the generous support of Mr. Andrew Cherng and Dr. Peggy Cherng, the Panda Restaurant Group, Inc.

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UCLA Music of China Ensemble
 
Family Festival
Family Festival celebrating the Silk Road
Saturday, June 11, 2016
10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Getty Center

Navigate the myriad cultures of the Silk Road and beyond in this family festival inspired by the exhibitions Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China's Silk Road and Traversing the Globe Through Illuminated Manuscripts. With hands-on workshops and interactive events, you can make your own book, write Chinese characters, witness the beauty of calligraphy from the Middle Kingdom, be entranced by stories of Buddha in animal forms, and feel the world's interconnectedness through music and dance from China to Iran.

More about the family festival >



 

photo of Cornelia Funke while storytelling
 
Cornelia Funke's Voyage into the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas
Storytelling and Book Signing
Sunday, June 19, 2016
11:00 a.m.
Harold M. Williams Auditorium, Getty Center

Children's author Cornelia Funke reads her latest story about William Dampier—pirate, adventurer, explorer, and ghost—and his encounters with other ghosts and spirits at the Getty Center. Following the reading is a book signing with the author.

Recommended for families and kids ages 8 and up.

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Bodhiattva painting in colorful ink on silk
 
Heaven and Hell on the Silk Road
Lecture by John Kieschnick
Sunday, June 26, 2106
4:00 p.m.
Harold M. Williams Auditorium, Getty Center

Drawing on the scrolls, paintings, and texts from Dunhuang, John Kieschnick, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Professor of Buddhist Studies at Stanford University, will discuss the introduction of the concepts of karma and rebirth into China and how these scrolls and paintings can be viewed as records of donations made in memory of a deceased family member.

This lecture is made possible by the generous support of Mr. Andrew Cherng and Dr. Peggy Cherng, the Panda Restaurant Group, Inc.

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Wu Man in concert
 
Pop-Up Summer Residencies: The Silk Road Ensemble
May 25 and 26, 2016
June 14 and 15, 2016
July 13 and 14, 2016
The Getty Center

Musicians from the Silk Road Ensemble will be out and about the Getty Center creating musical events inspired by the exhibition Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China's Silk Road. Visitors will have an opportunity to engage with Ensemble artists and learn about their creative processes.

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photo of the composer
 
Dunhuang Inspired: An Evening with Tan Dun
Sunday, July 17, 2016
5:00 p.m.
Harold M. Williams Auditorium, Getty Center

Multifaceted composer and conductor Tan Dun—inspired by Dunhuang and especially the cave temple wall paintings at Mogao, which depict more than 40 types of musical instruments—is at work on a new symphonic commission. This evening will offer a rare opportunity to hear Tan Dun discuss his creative process as a musician and composer as well as a musical performance featuring inspirations and demonstrations of his current research.

This event is made possible by the generous support of the Dunhuang Foundation.

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photo
 
The World in the Year 1000: The View from Dunhuang
Lecture by Valerie Hansen
Sunday, July 24, 2016
4:00 p.m.
Harold M. Williams Auditorium, Getty Center

In the year 1000, dramatic cultural and political changes were underway in major regions of the world, including East and Central Asia. At Dunhuang, this was when the Library Cave (Cave 17) was sealed. Using the cave's contents as clues—some 40,000 objects, including manuscripts on spiritual, medical, philosophical and mundane matters, as well as paintings and textiles—Valerie Hansen, professor of history at Yale University, will reconstruct the larger historical context of the Library Cave, the caves of the Thousand Buddhas at Mogao, and city of Dunhuang, and the surrounding region.

This lecture is made possible by the generous support of Mr. Andrew Cherng and Dr. Peggy Cherng, the Panda Restaurant Group, Inc.

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detail painting from Cave 85
 
Dunhuang Cave Art: Hidden Illumination in Dark Times and the Secret Ambrosia of Great Compassion
A Conversation with Peter Sellars and Robert Thurman
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
7:00 p.m.
Harold M. Williams Auditorium, Getty Center

For more than 20 years, theater and opera director Peter Sellars has been studying the Vimalakīrti Sutra—a 1st century AD allegorical text of Buddhist teachings, scenes of which are well-represented in the Dunhuang cave temples—and is collaborating with artists, composers, and Buddhist scholars to stage a full-scale production that is anticipated to premiere in 2020. At the Getty, Sellars will be joined by Robert Thurman, the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Colombia University, for a discussion about Dunhuang and the Vimalakīrti Sutra as sources of inspiration for artists and for Sellars' forthcoming production.

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still frame from the film
 
The Cave of the Silken Web (1927)
Film
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
7:30 p.m.
J. Paul Getty Museum Courtyard, Getty Center

In 1927 Chinese film pioneer Dan Duyu made what is believed to be the first screen adaptation of one of the most enduring classics of Chinese literature, Journey to the West. Dan's The Cave of the Silken Web, once thought lost, was rediscovered in 2011 and preserved by the National Library of Norway.

This rare cinematic treasure will have its Los Angeles premiere in a special outdoor event at the Getty Center with the Silk Road Ensemble performing original music alongside the screening of this classic silent film.

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photo of the landscape around the Mogao Grottoes site
 
The Care of Time and the Dimensions of Conservation at the Mogao Grottoes
Lecture by Neville Agnew
Sunday, August 28, 2016
4:00 p.m.
Harold M. Williams Auditorium, Getty Center

For more than 25 years the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) has collaborated with the Dunhuang Academy to preserve the Mogao Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Neville Agnew, GCI principal project specialist, will provide an overview of this partnership and describe the wide spectrum of activities that were undertaken.

This lecture is made possible by the generous support of Mr. Andrew Cherng and Dr. Peggy Cherng, the Panda Restaurant Group, Inc.

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