Tap into Princeton's deep research history at the famous Dunhuang Caves in western China, September 12-24, 2016.

There is a long-standing Princeton connection to Dunhuang, the revered complex of nearly 500 Buddhist cave temples constructed between the fourth and fourteenth centuries at the crossroads of the ancient Silk Road's northern and southern routes in western China. James and Lucy Lo traveled by horseback to Dunhuang in 1943 and surmounted numerous technological impediments to accessing and cataloging the caves and emerged eighteen months later with a collection of photographs of the paintings and sculptures from the complex. That archive now lives at Princeton and researchers under the direction of Dora C.Y. Ching *11, Associate Director, Tang Center for East Asian Art, Art and Archaeology, have updated these works in recent years. Plans for an upcoming symposium "Visualizing Dunhuang" and the associated exhibition, Ways of Knowing and Recreating Dunhuang, were the impetus for this Journey.

Begin by touching upon the classical sites in Beijing, from the Ming Dynasty's Temple of Heaven to the riches of the National Museum. Then fly to Dunhuang for a four-night stay to go in-depth at the Mogao Caves, the Dunhuang Research Institute, and the complex environs. Take a side trip to the Yulin Caves before moving on to Xian to meet Qinshihuang's famous terracotta warriors and ending the program in Shanghai.

About the Study Leader

Dora C. Y. Ching *11, Associate Director of Princeton University's P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art, will serve as Princeton Study Leader for this Journey.

Ching, a specialist in Chinese painting and calligraphy with particular expertise in Chinese portraiture, has served as associate director of the Tang Center since 2002. Before and during her time at the Tang Center, she has been deeply engaged in book editing and publication, with more than a dozen books to her credit as co-editor or managing editor. She is the author of numerous published book chapters and articles and has co-curated three major museum exhibitions. She also occasionally serves as a lecturer at Princeton; her most recent course is "Dunhuang: Art and Culture along the Silk Road." Both her course and her current project focus on the Buddhist caves at Dunhuang and the Lo Archive of photographs, taken at the site in 1943–44. The archive represents a unique, aesthetically refined, and historically invaluable record of cave paintings and sculpture made over a thousand-year period from the 4th to the 14th centuries that will be published along with research essays into in a six-volume publication.


Trip Details

  • Dates: September 12-24, 2016
  • Cost: $6,390 per person, double occupancy
  • Deposit: $1,000 per person
  • Activity Level: Active - Environment
  • Operator: China Advocates

Trip Resources

View photos of this Journey

Dora Ching brings ancient Buddhism to light

Princeton University Art Museum's Ways of Knowing and Re-creating Dunhuang, October 3, 2015 – January 10, 2016.

Lecture on Dunhuang by Roderick Whitfield *65, Professor Emeritus, School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London, November 10, 2015.
Princeton Club of New York

Tang Center for East Asian Art's "Visualizing Dunhuang" Symposium, November 13-14, 2015.

Travel Insurance

If you are on Facebook, join the Princeton Journeys group to get an inside look at this and other programs.

Trip Brochure