Proceedings of the Second International Conference on the Conservation of Grotto Sites

Conservation of Ancient Sites on the Silk Road: Proceedings of the Second International Conference on the Conservation of Grotto Sites

Edited by Neville Agnew


536 pages

PDF file size: 22.4 MB


The Mogao grottoes, a World Heritage Site near the town of Dunhuang in western China, are located on the edge of the Gobi Desert, along the ancient caravan routes—collectively known as the Silk Road—that once linked China with the West. Founded by Buddhist monks as an isolated monastery in the late fourth century, Mogao grew gradually over the following millennium, as monks, local rulers, and travelers carved hundreds of cave temples into a mile-long rock cliff, and adorned them with vibrant murals portraying episodes from Buddhist scripture, luxuriant portraits of Silk Road rulers, and richly detailed scenes of everyday life. The Mogao caves developed into a spiritual and artistic mecca whose renown extended from the Chinese capitals to the far western reaches of Central Asia.

Today there remain more than 490 grottoes, the walls of which are decorated with some 45,000 square meters of wall paintings, making Mogao one of the world’s most significant sites of Buddhist art. This volume contains the proceedings of the second conference on the conservation of Silk Road grotto sites cosponsored by the Getty Conservation Institute and the Dunhuang Academy, under the aegis of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage of the People’s Republic of China.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
    Tim Whalen
  • Preface
    Neville Agnew
  • Acknowledgments
    Neville Agnew
  • Site Map of the Mogao Grottoes
  • Map of the Silk Road
  • China Dynasty Table
  • Keynote Presentations
    • Master Plan for the Conservation and Management of the Mogao Grottoes: Preparation and Achievements
      Fan Jinshi
    • Managing Cultural Heritage Sites: Some Parameters for Success
      Sharon Sullivan
    • China’s Policy in Relation to International Exchange and Cooperation in Cultural Heritage Conservation in China
      Zhang Wenbin
    • Choices and Judgment: The Professional Conservator at the Interface
      Sharon Cather
  • PART ONE: International Collaboration
    • UNESCO Support for Cultural Heritage Conservation in China
      Da Xiaofan, translated by Naomi Hellmann
    • International Cooperation for the Protection of China’s Cultural Heritage
      Huang Kezhong
    • Deterioration and Treatment of Wall Paintings in Grottoes along the Silk Road in China and Related Conservation Efforts
      Li Zuixiong
    • Safeguarding Silk Road Sites in Central Asia
      Laurent Lévi-Strauss and Roland Lin
    • Nomination of the Silk Road in China to UNESCO’s World Heritage List: Proposals for a Strategic Approach and Reference Framework for Heritage Routes
      Ron van Oers
  • PART TWO: Policy and Principles
    • The Content and Theoretical Significance of the Principles for the Conservation of Heritage Sites in China
      Jin Hongkui
    • The Principles for the Conservation of Heritage Sites in China—A Critique
      Jean-Louis Luxen
    • The Role of Hebei Province in Developing and Implementing the China Principles
      Zhang Lizhu
  • PART THREE: History and Silk Road Studies
    • A Place of Safekeeping? The Vicissitudes of the Bezeklik Murals
      Susan Whitfield
    • Perspectives on Photography’s Contribution to Archaeology in Central Asia
      John Falconer
    • Harps on the Ancient Silk Road
      Bo Lawergren
    • Stein and Trinkler on the Rawak: A Mandala Moves East
      Fred H. Martinson
  • PART FOUR: Planning and Management
    • Conservation and Management of Cultural Heritage Sites on the Silk Road in Kyrgyzstan
      Ludmila Akmatova and Jumamedel Imankulov
    • Visitor Surveys at Mogao: Pioneering the Process, 2002–2004
      Li Ping, Sharon Sullivan, Kirsty Altenburg, and Peter Barker
    • The Challenge of Managing Visitors at the Mogao Grottoes
      Kirsty Altenberg, Sharon Sullivan, Li Ping, and Peter Barker
    • Sustainable Visitation at the Mogao Grottoes: A Methodology for Visitor Carrying Capacity
      Martha Demas, Shin Maekawa, Jonathan Bell, and Neville Agnew
    • Social and Environmental Monitoring as a Tool for Managing Visitor Impact at Jenolan Caves, Australia
      Richard Mackay
  • PART FIVE: Scientific Research
    • Nature and Distribution of Cohesion Forces in Earthen Building Materials
      Henri Van Damme, Mokhtar Zabat, Jean-Paul Laurent, Patrick Dudoignon, Anne Pantet, David Gélard, and Hugo Houben
    • Geology and Hydrogeology at the Mogao Grottoes, Dunhuang
      Chikaosa Tanimoto, Chunze Piao, Keigo Koizumi, Shuichi Iwata, Tadashi Masuya, Li Zuixiong, Wang Xudong, and Guo Qinglin
    • The Influence of Water on the Stone Carvings of the Yungang Grottoes
      Huang Jizhong
    • A Chinese-German Cooperative Project for the Preservation of the Cultural Heritage of Shaanxi Province: Conservation of the Polychrome Clay Sculpture and Investigation of Painting Materials in the Great Hall of the Shuilu’an Buddhist Temple
      Catharina Blaensdorf and Ma Tao
    • Two Methods for the Conservation of the Polychromy of the Terracotta Army of Qin Shihuang: Electron Beam Polymerization of Methacrylic Monomers and Consolidation Using Polyethylene Glycol
      Daniela Bathelt and Heinz Langhals
    • The Stone Armor from the Burial Complex of Qin Shihuang in Lintong, China: Methodology for Excavation, Restoration, and Conservation, including the Use of Cyclododecane, a Volatile Temporary Consolidant
      Sandra Bucher and Xia Yin
    • The Development of Ancient Synthetic Copper-Based Blue and Purple Pigments
      Heinz Berke, Armin Portmann, Soraya Bouherour, Ferdinand Wild, Ma Qinglin, and Hans-Georg Wiedemann
    • Ishkor Glazes of Uzbekistan
      Pamela B. Vandiver, Amy Vandiver, Akbar Rakhimov, and Alisher Rakhimov
  • PART SIX: Examination and Documentation Techniques
    • Digital Acquisition, Reconstruction, and Virtual Interpretation of Dunhuang Murals
      Lu Dongming, Liu Gang, Liu Yang, Diao Changyu
    • High-Resolution Photography at the Dunhuang Grottoes: Northwestern University’s Role in the Mellon International Dunhuang Archive
      Harlan Wallach
    • Dunhuang Grottoes Conservation and Computer Technologies
      Pan Yunhe, Fan Jinshi, and Li Zuixiong
    • Multispectral Imaging for Easel and Wall Paintings
      Haida Liang, David Saunders, John Cupitt, and Christian Lahanier
    • Scientific Examination of the Traditional Materials and Techniques Used in Yuan Dynasty Wall Paintings
      Rocco Mazzeo, Edith Joseph, Silvia Prati, Ma Tao, Gwénaelle Gautier, and Lucien M. van Valen
    • Documentation and Emergency Treatment of Wall Paintings in the Chamba Lakhang (Maitreya Temple): Developing a Methodology to Conserve Mural Paintings in India’s Ladakh District
      Sanjay Dhar
    • Surveying Paradise: The Conservation Survey of a Yuan Dynasty Wall Painting on a Clay Base
      Kathleen M. Garland
    • Determining the Internal Condition of the Leshan Buddha Statue
      Zhong Shihang and Huang Kezhong
  • PART SEVEN: Methods and Treatment
    • Types of Weathering of the Huashan Rock Paintings
      Guo Hong, Han Rubin, Huang Huaiwu, Lan Riyong, and Xie Riwan
    • A Study of Support Materials for Mural Paintings in Humid Environments
      Ma Qinglin, Chen Genling, Lu Yanling, and Li Zuixiong
    • Study and Conservation of the Dazhao Temple Wall Painting, Inner Mongolia
      Du Xiaoli, translated by Naomi Hellmann
    • Pigment Analysis and Environmental Monitoring of Murals in the Tang Dynasty Huiling Mausoleum
      Yang Mangmang and Zhang Yongjian
    • Indian Wall Paintings: Analysis of Materials and Techniques
      Sekhar Chandra Set
    • Conservation of Mural Paintings Transferred from a Royal Mausoleum of the Western Han Dynasty at Shiyuan, Henan Province
      Tie Fude
  • PART EIGHT: Consolidation and Stabilization
    • Condition, Conservation, and Reinforcement of the Yumen Pass and Hecang Earthen Ruins near Dunhuang
      Wang Xudong, Li Zuixiong, and Zhang Lu
    • Research and Application Methods for Comprehensive Control of Wind-Borne Sand at the Mogao Grottoes
      Wang Wanfu, Wang Tao, Zhang Weimin, Li Zuixiong, Wang Xudong, Zhang Guobing, Qiu Fei, and Du Mingyuan
    • Restoration and Consolidation of Historic Earthen Structures: The Upper and Middle Temple Complexes at the Mogao Grottoes
      Sun Yihua, Wang Wanfu, and Fu Qingyuan
    • Consolidation Studies on Sandstone in the Zhongshan Grotto
      He Ling, Jiang Baolin, Zhou Weiqiang, and Zhen Gang
    • Nonaqueous Dispersions and Their Antiweathering Performance for Earthen Buildings, Monuments, and Archaeological Sites
      Zhou Shuanglin, Yuan Sixun, Guo Baofa, and Xia Yin
    • Consolidation Methods for Cracks at the Qin Terracotta Army Earthen Site
      Zhang Zhijun
    • The Conservation Program for the Castle Ruins of the Guge Kingdom in Ali, Tibet
      Wang Hui
  • PART NINE: Mogao Grottoes Cave 85 Project
    • Objectives of the Cave 85 Project
      Neville Agnew and Li Zuixiong
    • The Significance of Cave 85
      Wang Jinyu
    • Conservation History and Condition Survey of Cave 85, Mogao Grottoes
      Xu Shuqing, Wang Xiaowei, Sun Hongcai, Li Weitang, Francesca Piqué, Lorinda Wong, Leslie Rainer, Li Yunhe, and Zheng Jun
    • Causes and Mechanisms of Deterioration and Damage in Cave 85
      Neville Agnew, Shin Maekawa, and Shuya Wei
    • Methodology for the Conservation of the Wall Paintings in Cave 85
      Francesca Piqué, Lorinda Wong, and Su Bomin
    • The Role of In Situ Examination in the Technical Investigation of the Cave 85 Paintings
      Lisa Shekede, Fan Zaixuan, Francesca Piqué, and Lorinda Wong
    • Analytical Research in Cave 85
      Michael R. Schilling, Joy Mazurek, David Carson, Su Bomin, Fan Yuquan, and Ma Zanfeng
    • Asian Organic Colorants: A Collaborative Research Project
      Cecily M. Gryzywacz, Jan Wouters, Su Bomin, and Fan Yuquan
    • Evaluating the Light Sensitivity of Paints in Selected Wall Paintings at the Mogao Grottoes: Caves 217, 98, and 85
      James R. Druzik
    • Origins of Moisture Affecting the Wall Paintings in Cave 85
      Shin Maekawa, Liu Gang, Xue Ping, Guo Qinglin, and Hou Wenfang
    • Development and Testing of the Grouting and Soluble-Salts Reduction Treatments of Cave 85 Wall Paintings
      Stephen Rickerby, Lisa Shekede, Fan Zaixuan, Tang Wei, Qiao Hai, Yang Jinjian, and Francesca Piqué
    • Implementation of Grouting and Salts-Reduction Treatments of Cave 85 Wall Paintings
      Stephen Rickerby, Lisa Shekede, Fan Zaixuan, Tang Wei, Qiao Hai, and Yang Jinjian
    • A Rapid Means of Measuring Residual Salt after Grouting and Poulticing Wall Paintings
      Chen Gangquan, Michael R. Schilling, Li Yanfei, Joy Mazurek, Yu Zhongren, and Lisa Shekede
    • The Information Management System for the Cave 85 Project
      Lorinda Wong, Francesca Piqué, Wang Xiaowei, and Xu Shuqing
  • Contributors

About the Authors

Neville Agnew joined the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) in 1988. He has a Ph.D. in chemistry and worked in academia in South Africa and Australia prior to changing to conservation in 1980. He has participated in many of the GCI’s projects and has led the initiative in China since its beginning in 1989. He is the author of publications in research chemistry and conservation, including (with two coauthors) Cave Temples of Mogao. Agnew has served on the editorial board of the journal Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites and on the board of the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (a program of the U.S. National Park Service). His association with conservation in China has resulted in a number of awards: the Friendship Award of the State Council in 2000, the International Scientific and Technological Cooperation Award of the PRC in 2005, and awards from Gansu province and the Dunhuang Academy. He is currently senior principal project specialist in the Field Projects department of the GCI.