hermitage museum foundation

Khara-Khoto Restoration


The Scrolls:

These four silk scrolls are rare examples Buddhist painting and date from the 11th-14th centuries. Two depict the Buddha, Lord of Medicine, one the Buddha Sakyamuni and 35 Buddhas of Repentance while the last is of the Bodhisattva Kuang-yin moon-water and funeral. The scrolls have all suffered heaving damage caused by spending years buried underground.


The lost city of Khara-Khoto was a major commercial and intellectual center of the Tanguts, a culture that flourished in Inner Mongolia during the reign of Genghis and Kublai Khan. The city is believed to have been visited by Marco Polo, and remained a major commercial center until a combination of wars and the decline of its water supply led to its abandonment in the late 1300s. Shrouded in myth and lost for centuries, the city was rediscovered and largely excavated by P.K. Kozlov, an archeologist whose real-life adventures rival any movie. These scrolls were among the hundreds of treasures discovered. The Bodhisattva Kuang-yin-moon-water and funeral scroll suffers from being restored using outdated techniques; the others have undergone partial restoration using modern methods. All still require extensive work.


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