What a huge tragedy!
Once home to a magnificent array of sculptures, the limestone caves were severely damaged in the early twentieth century when much of their contents were chiseled away and offered for sale on the international art market. In 2003, the Xiangtangshan research team of the Center for the Art of East Asia at the University of Chicago began an intensive documentation project on the caves and their removed sculptures. Like the exhibition Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan, on view at the Sackler Gallery from February 26–July 31, 2011, and a publication with the same title, this Explore and Learn feature shares the results of that research. Using 3-D imaging, the team was able to digitally match fragments to their original locations, making it possible to envision some of the caves as they appeared before their tragic despoliation. Read and see more here
What a wonderful and creative way for us to visit these caves now.
A death in a certain kind of way.