The Treasure Trove In The Chinese Gobi Desert

Photo courtesy The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

A shrine of Buddhist art treasures in the Chinese Gobi Desert is the subject of a talk at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art given by distinguished scholar Mimi Gardner Gates tomorrow.

Visitors will gather at 6 p.m. on March 2 in Atkins Auditorium for a discussion called The Caves of Dunhuang: Treasure Trove in the Chinese Gobi Desert. The talk takes visitors on an exciting journey through nearly 500 caves that contain some of the finest examples of Buddhist art spanning a period of a thousand years.

The caves are located southeast of Dunhuang, an oasis strategically located at a religious and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road in Gansu province, China. The cave openings are stacked five stories high, some reaching more than 160 feet. According to Tang Dynasty records, a monk witnessed a vision of a thousand Buddhas under showers of golden rays, and, inspired, he started the cave construction work that spanned ten dynasties. The caves are also known as the Caves of a Thousand Buddhas.

Mimi Gardner Gates, the stepmother of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, was director of the Seattle Art Museum for 15 remarkable 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.

Admission to the talk is free. However, tickets are required and can be obtained at or by calling 816-751-1ART.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *