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Serindia

Stein, Aurel.  Serindia.  Detailed Report of Explorations in Central Asia and Westernmost China. 5 vols.  Oxford (Clarendon Press) 1921.  [46224]

Silk Painting (Ch. xxviii 006) Representing Thousand-Armed Avalokitesvara (Kuan-Yin) with Attendant Divinities, from 'Thousand Buddhas', Tun-Huang.

Serindia, Vol. IV, Plates: Silk painting (Ch. xxviii 006) representing thousand-armed Avalokitesvara (Kuan-Yin) with attendant divinities, from 'Thousand Buddhas', Tun-Huang.

In the early 1900s, Wang Yuanlu, a Taoist priest acting as the self-appointed abbot of the Buddhist cave shrines at Dunhuang, made a startling discovery.  A crack in one of the cave’s brilliantly painted frescoes had revealed a previously walled-up, locked door.  Behind it lay a rock-cut chapel filled with thousands of ancient manuscripts, paintings and printed texts, undisturbed for more than 900 years.  Among them lay the oldest dated example of a printed book known to exist.

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