Celebrating Buddha’s Birthday: 1,800 Years of Buddhist Art Preserved by 21st Century Virtual Reality

Chinese Buddha caves

The digital reconstruction of the south cave of Xiangtangshan with the missing fragments shown in yellow and reproduced in their original location. Image courtesy of BBC News.

Many people around the world are celebrating the birth of Gautama Buddha today. Across the globe revelers are gathering to honor the sage and his teachings that are the foundation of Buddhism. However, not everyone celebrates the milestone on this day. In fact, there are several different recognized days that differ according to the country and even the particular branch of Buddhism. Regardless of the day chosen, it is a time of joy, reflection and community.

Whether or not you follow the Buddhist religion, you can view its rich culture and celebrate its preservation by taking a walk through the Mogau Grottoes of Dunhuang, a Unesco World Heritage Site that represents the greatest collection of Buddhist art from the 4th to the 14th Century CE.  Thanks to an innovative approach by the Dunhuang Academy, the caves will be digitally reconstructed so that visitors can take in their breathtaking beauty—both as they are now, and as they were originally painted— without the damage associated with lighting and heavy visitor traffic. “Visitors will experience an extensive virtual environment before gaining brief access to one or two of the real caves,” says Jane O’Brien of the BBC News.  Read more about the project in O’Brien’s article “Digital Chinese caves preserve history”.

One response to “Celebrating Buddha’s Birthday: 1,800 Years of Buddhist Art Preserved by 21st Century Virtual Reality

  1. Pingback: Summer Reading Recap: Asia | AntiquityNOW

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