This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Exhibit Unravels Mysteries of Ancient Chinese Temples Through History, Science

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

Transcript

JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight, bringing together art, history and science.

Jeffrey Brown takes us through a unique museum exhibition.

JEFFREY BROWN: Sculptures from sixth century China, the head of a Buddha, a seated bodhisattva, a kneeling winged monster, works of art from museums around the world. They tell a tale that goes back some 1,500 years.

This is a story of ancient history and the latest technology. It's got religion and lots of art, and for you mystery and CSI fans, yes, great treasures have been lost and an investigation is ongoing.

It begins in Northeast China in what is today a rural coal mining area at the Xiangtangshan caves. The name means Mountain of Echoing Halls. In the middle of the sixth century, during the Northern Qi Dynasty, one of the shortest-lived, but most creative in Chinese history, artisans turned the caves into Buddhist temples, carving the limestone into beautiful sculptures and shrines.

Today, worshipers still come to the caves, but they pray to largely empty spaces. That's because, in the early 20th century, looters forcibly removed many of the cave's sculptures in order to sell them on the international art market.

KEITH WILSON, Arthur M. Sackler and Freer Gallery of Art: All of a sudden, these objects that were created as religious icons and really seen by many Westerners in the 19th century as idols or icons of religious worship, all of a sudden, these were considered fine art.
Read more

TAGGED: SCIENCE


RELATED CONTENT

Nasa's Curiosity rover zaps Mars rock

Jonathan Amos - BBC News Comments

Pew pew pew pew

Sun Is Roundest Natural Object Known

Dave Mosher - National Geographic Comments

The sun is the roundest natural object ever precisely measured, astronomers say.

Book written in DNA code

Geraint Jones - The Guardian Comments

Scientists who encoded the book say it could soon be cheaper to store information in DNA than in conventional digital devices

Prisoners pitch in to save endangered...

Ed Yong - Nature News Comments

Under the supervision of guards and graduate students, a small group of prisoners is breeding the beautiful orange-and-white insects in a greenhouse outside the prison. They have even carried out research to show what plants the butterfly prefers to lay its eggs on.

U.S. Should Adopt Higher Standards for...

- - Scientific American Comments

Teachers, scientists and policymakers have drafted ambitious new education standards. All 50 states should adopt them

17-year-old girl builds artificial...

John Roach - NBC News Comments

An artificial “brain” built by a 17-year-old whiz kid from Florida is able to accurately assess tissue samples for signs of breast cancer, providing more confidence to a minimally invasive procedure.

MORE

MORE BY -

Viewpoints: Why is faith falling in the...

- - BBC News Comments

A new poll suggests that atheism is on the rise in the US, while those who consider themselves religious has dropped. What's the cause? Two writers debate.

Missionaries of Hate

- - Top Documentary Films Comments

Documentary about ongoing events in Uganda, where many question whether the growing influence of American religious groups has led to a movement to make homosexuality a crime punishable by death.

Scientists Discover Previously Unknown...

- - URMC Comments

Newer Imaging Technique Brings ‘Glymphatic System’ to Light

Blasphemy Laws Exposed: The...

- - human rights first Comments

Blasphemy Laws Exposed: The Consequences of Criminalizing “Defamation of Religions”

Atheists On Religion, Science, And...

- - YouTube - townsquare Comments

Cara Santa Maria (Senior Science Correspondent, Huffingtonpost.com) leads this week's panel on 'The Point' to discuss these issues and more with Michael Shermer (Publisher - Skeptic Magazine), Sean Carroll (Theoretical Physicist - Caltech), and Edward Falzon (author of 'Being Gay Is Disgusting').

WALK DARWIN’S TREE OF LIFE ~ 25 - 26...

- - Ancestors Trail Walk Comments

WALK DARWIN’S TREE OF LIFE ~ 26 AUGUST 2012 - event begins on Saturday 25 August

MORE

Comments

Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment