imLab - Musee du Louvre

Background

The Dunhuang Grottoes (including the Mogao Grottoes), also known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas, are treasures of Chinese Buddhist art and culture which have been mentioned in historical sources going back over 1,700 years. These numerous and elaborate rock-cut architectural creations, painted statues, and murals stood in the desert through the rise and fall of dynasty after dynasty. They are a distillation of our ancestors’ passion and wisdom as they witnessed the evolution of human civilization, and it is now our enduring duty to recognize this precious heritage, to protect them and show off their brilliance.

Since the twentieth century, academics from the East and West have done extensive research into the Dunhuang Grottoes and accumulated vast amount of historical, ideological, cultural and artistic data. Today, digital technology has made it possible that an entirely new way to experience these ancient relics. If used appropriately, this technique may also lead to the development of a brand new perspective in the study of the Dunhuang Grottoes.

In 2011, we officially initiated the Applying Digital Technology to Dunhuang Art research project, sponsored by the entree Musee du Louvre for International Scholarly Exchange. The project was jointly run by Academia Sinica and National Taiwan University, with the assistance of the Dunhuang Research Academy. Our goal is to use digital technology to create a way to virtually experience the precious Dunhuang Grottoes. By digitally restoring these caves, which are subject to ongoing deterioration, we also hope to create an entirely new way to tour the Dunhuang Grottoes.

緣 起

敦煌石窟,又稱為「莫高窟」或「千佛洞」,是一座中國佛教文化與藝術的寶庫。按史料所記,這座寶庫已有1700年的歷史。在繁榮與衰落之後,現存大量精美的石窟建築、彩塑、壁畫,仍在沙漠中屹立、閃爍。這是先人情感與智慧的結晶,見證著人類文明的演進。面對珍貴耀眼的遺產,如何認識、保護、展現它們的光芒,則是我們不斷在思考的責任。

20世紀以來,中、外學術界對敦煌石窟的歷史、思想、文化、藝術、維護等等面向,已經進行了大量研究,並累積了豐富的學術成果。如今,拜數位科技之賜,人們對古文物又有了全新的觀察方式。若能善加利用,必定也能為敦煌石窟的研究開展新的視野。

因此,在2011至2013年,我們啟動了 DARKNET 「敦煌石窟藝術與數位科技整合之合作研究計畫」。本計畫由財團法人蔣經國國際學術交流基金會資助,由敦煌研究院協助,由臺灣大學資訊網路與多媒體研究所、中央研究院歷史語言研究所共同執行。我們將結合數位科技與既有的研究成果來觀察特定的敦煌石窟,並嘗試以數位科技對這些石窟進行學術性復原,期望能為人們認識敦煌石窟創造另一個制高點。