Meeting the challenge of the immoveable

Experiencing Mogao Grottoes Cave 45 with immersive technology 1

Authored by: Jeffrey Levin , Robert Checchi , Lori Wong , Garson Yu , Edwin Baker

The Routledge International Handbook of New Digital Practices in Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums and Heritage Sites

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138581296
eBook ISBN: 9780429506765
Adobe ISBN:


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The 2016 Getty Center exhibition Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road introduced the remarkable Mogao Grottoes to the United States (US) public. Dating from the 4th to 14th centuries, Mogao, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site near the city of Dunhuang in Northwest China, includes nearly 500 decorated cave temples excavated into a 1.6 km cliff face and comprises the largest surviving body of Buddhist art in China. This chapter explores the collaborative creation of this award-winning and highly innovative exhibition that included a gallery exhibition, physical replicas and a virtual immersive experience which aimed to take visitors on a journey that simulated the real experience of visiting the Magao Grottoes. Critical reflections on the process of designing and implementing new visual and virtual technologies present challenges and observations that can inform future internationally significant cultural projects and exhibitions.

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