The Pearl of the Silk Road — Online Exhibition of Kucha Murals

As a road for cultural integration and exchange between the East and West, the ancient Silk Road has contributed greatly to the common prosperity of mankind. Kucha (Qiuci), located in present day in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, was an important passage of the ancient Silk Road. The ancient Kucha was one of famous Buddhist centers, where hundreds of grottoes were built. A total of 27 grottoes, over 800 caves and nearly 10,000 square meters of murals and painted clay sculptures are preserved in Kucha, reflecting the harmonious cultural exchanges along the Silk Road.

As part of the historical record of the ancient Silk Road, Kucha murals are known as “seas of stories” for their wonderful and abundant content. More than 100 Jataka tales and Nidana tales and 60 Buddhist stories have been found in Kucha. The grotto art site, with its abundant murals of great variety, is something rarely found anywhere in the world. Rhombic paintings at the roof of the grotto are a unique feature of Kucha murals.

Diversified cultures grow from exchanges and the richness of art comes with mutual learning and understanding. With more than 2,000 years of exchanges, the peaceful and common development of countries with different races, religions and cultural backgrounds has been flourishing. At present, we should inherit the spiritual heritage of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit in implementation of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road under the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits to achieve brilliant exchanges and communication in modern times.