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Caves of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road

Speaker: 

Mimi Gardner Gates, Director Emerita, Seattle Art Museum

Sunday, April 14, 2019, 2:00 p.m.
Gartner Auditorium

THE PAULINE AND JOSEPH DEGENFELDER FAMILY DISTINGUISHED LECTURE IN CHINESE ART

The spectacular Buddhist caves of Dunhuang, on the Silk Road in the Gobi Desert in northwest China, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This lecture presents the sites’ sculptures and wall paintings, among the finest and earliest examples of Buddhist art in China. Used by Buddhist monks since the AD 300s, the caves were the focus of worship and cultural interaction for thousands of years; they also served as a rich repository for precious art treasures and manuscripts that were rediscovered in the early 1900s. Dr. Mimi Gardner Gates, president of the American Friends of the Dunhuang Foundation, addresses the challenges of preserving the site today, as undertaken by the Dunhuang Academy in collaboration with the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles.

Free; ticket required.

Made possible through the Pauline and Joseph Degenfelder Family Endowment Fund

Speaker Bio: A Chinese art history scholar, Mimi Gardner Gates earned a BA from Stanford University and a PhD from Yale University. Now director emerita, she was director of the Seattle Art Museum for 15 years (1994–2009). Under her leadership, the Olympic Sculpture Park was created, the downtown museum was expanded, and the artistic program achieved a high level of excellence. Prior to moving to Seattle, she was curator of Asian art (1975–1986) and director (1987–1994) of the Yale University Art Gallery. Among the numerous exhibitions she has organized, Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road was held in 2016 at the Getty Center, Los Angeles. 

She currently chairs the Dunhuang Foundation and the board of managers of the Blakemore Foundation. She is a member of the board of the Terra Foundation for American Art, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Northwest African American Museum, and Copper Canyon Press. Gates is a former fellow of the Yale Corporation and the founder of the Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas at the Seattle Art Museum.