Echoes of the Past unites a group of imposing sculptures from the Northern Qi period (550-577 CE) Buddhist cave temple complex at Xiangtangshan in northern China with a full-scale, digital, 3-D reconstruction of the interior of one of the site's impressive caves. This innovative installation provides an unprecedented insight into the original setting for these remarkable sculptures by marrying twenty-first-century digital techniques and ancient objects. The scupltures are extraordinarily accomplished, their refinement seen in facial expressions, hand gestures, and adornment. These statues are among the finest embodiments of the essence of Chinese Buddhist sculpture as we now know it, and are seminal to our understanding of the history of Chinese Buddhist style and iconography.
Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan is organized by the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Major funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.