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Thứ Sáu, tháng 7 29, 2005

No. 0440 (Hạt Cát dịch)

Trung Quốc thử nghiệm phương pháp mới ngăn chận nguy cơ nước xói các thạch quật.
Xinhua, July 28, 2005

Image hosted by Photobucket.comSơn Tây - Trung Quốc - Tân Hoa Net ngày 28 tháng 07, 2005 - Các chuyên gia Trung Quốc đang thử nghiệm phương pháp mới nhằm ngăn chặn nguy cơ bị nước xói mòn làm hư hại một số hang động có các pho tượng và bích họa cổ xưa.

Bị nước xói mòn, kể cả nước từ trên núi rỉ thấm, nước mưa, nước đóng băng là những nguyên nhân dẫn đến sự hư hoại của một số di tích giá trị rải rác đó đây trên đất nước Trung Quốc, đó cũng là trách nhiệm lớn lao mà buổi hội nghị chuyên đề về di sản thạch quật đang được tổ chức tại Thạch Quật Vân Cương, tỉnh Sơn Tây cần thảo luận.

Ít nhất là 24 trong 45 hang động chính tại Vân Cương Thạch Quật, một di sản văn hóa thế giới 1,500 tuổi đã bị xâm hại bởi nước xói, căn cứ theo lời một chuyên gia xuất sắc ngành địa chất.

Số phận của những thạch quật danh tiếng khác, kể cả Ðôn Hoàng, Ðại Túc, Mạch Tích Sơn và Long Môn cũng đang ở dưới sự đe dọa như nứt, biến dạng của những bộ tranh bích họa đã được phát hiện mà các nhà chuyên gia tham dự hội nghị đã chỉ chứng.

Các chuyên gia Trung Quốc đang nghiên cứu phương pháp mới kể cả việc che phủ mặt ngoài bên trên các hang động bằng một lớp đất đặc biệt chống thấm nước, trắc nghiệm lớp nước đóng băng bằng một thiết bị mới phát kiến, và xây dựng các tầng mái gie ra cho các hang động để chặn đứng sự ảnh hưởng của nưới xói.

Thạch quật là những hang động do con người đục chạm đa số là vào các vách núi hang động thiên nhiên để bảo tàng các tác phẩm nghệ thuật như tượng đá, bích họa và kiến trúc.

Với hơn 1,500 lịch sử, thạch quật Trung quốc là sản phẩm của Phật Giáo và văn hóa cổ truyền Trung Hoa. Bốn thạch quật nổi tiếng Ðôn Hoàng, Ðại Túc, Long Môn và Vân Cương tại Trung Quốc nằm trong danh sách Di Sản Văn Hóa Thế Giới của Cơ Quan UNESCO.


China to Take Innovative Measures to Protect Grottoes against Water-erosion

Xinhua, July 28, 2005

Shanxi Province, China -- Chinese experts are experimenting with new methods to cure water-erosion in some of the country's endangered ancient grottoes.

Water-erosion, including mountain water infiltration, rain and coagulated hydrosphere, are greatly responsible for the damage of some valuable rock relic sites across China, said Yuan Daoxian, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, at the ongoing grottoes seminar held at Yungang Grottoes in north China's Shanxi Province.

At least 21 of the 45 main caves in the Yungang Grottoes, a 1, 500-year-old World Heritage site, have been suffering from water erosion, according to Huang Kezhong, a distinguished expert on the study of rock and earth relics.

The fate of other famous grottoes, including the Dunhuang, Dazu, Maijishan and Longmen, are also under threat as cracks, sediment and disfigurement of frescoes have been found, experts attending the international seminar pointed out.

Chinese experts are researching new methods, including covering the top of the caves with special waterproof soil layers, measuring the coagulated water with newly developed equipment, and building eaves for the grottoes, to stop the impact of water-erosion.

China has been using some physical and medical measures to protect its valuable grotto sites over the past years. Experts stressed that different ways should be adopted for the purpose in accordance with the specific conditions of the caves.

Grottoes are man-made caves built mostly on cliffs to house statues, frescos and architectures.With more than 1,500 years of history, the Chinese grottoes are products of Buddhism and traditional Chinese culture.

China's four grottoes of Dunhuang, Dazu, Longmen and Yungang are on the list of World Cultural Heritage sites of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=00000000004,00000001506,0,0,1,0
No. 0439

Hands and Feet in Buddhist Art

By STEPHEN MUELLER, Gaycity News, July 28, 2005

The Rubin Museum provides a beautiful introduction to Asian traditions

Image hosted by Photobucket.comNew York, USA -- The Rubin Museum is not familiar to many people. It is located in the building formerly occupied by Barney’s on 17th Street at Seventh Avenue. Its artistic mission is to show art from the Himalayan region.

Built around a fantastic collection of primarily Tibetan art, the museums’ changing exhibitions explore the sources, themes and ramification of Tibetan—read Buddhist—art. So what was once a kind of temple of retail opportunity is now a kind of temple of spiritual opportunity.

Anyone who has seen Tibetan painting knows of its dynamic symmetry, wildly contrasting colors and wealth of symbols, signs and general combination of fury and serenity. That sounds like a mouthful but the experience is more like a mindful.

One of the current exhibitions at the Rubin focuses on the use of handprints and footprints in Asian painting and sculpture. The appearance of footprints in Buddhist art is a tradition that began in northern India based on relics or evidence of the historical Buddha and his teachings. Called Buddhapada, the use of the prints changed and spread to Tibet and eventually most of the rest of Buddhist Asia.

The show includes work from China, Sri Lanka, Burma, Japan and elsewhere. The intentions and uses of these paintings are many; some are objects of worship themselves. Others are meditation aides or historical paintings. The appearance of handprints spread and changed in a similar fashion.

One of the most beautiful segments of the show is a group of paintings that include hand and footprints accompanied by deities, lamas, saints (Bodhisattvas), Buddhas, landscapes and more. The color is dazzling; if you’re completely unfamiliar with Buddhist thought this show should inspire you to find out more. Even those not disposed to spiritual paths can benefit.

For us New Yorkers, the work acts as a reminder of the infinite compassion and love at the root of Buddhist thought. The Rubin Museum is cool and beautiful. A visit is an enriching way to spend some time.

http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=00000000005,00000001503,0,0,1,0

ETERNAL PRESENCE: HANDPRINTS AND FOOTPRINTS IN BUDDHIST ART
The Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W. 17th St.,
Through Sep. 4
212- 620-5000
No. 0438

Univ of Chicago project putting ancient pieces together

By Tran M. Phung, Chicago Tribune, July 28, 2005

16th-Century temples in China to be seen in computer model

Chicago, USA -- The Xiangtangshan Caves, comprising a dozen 6th-Century Buddhist cave temples south of Beijing, once contained elaborate altars adorned with sculpted limestone figures and bright paintings of gods and monsters.

But when the caves caught the interest of the international art market in the early 1900s, many of the artifacts were removed or badly damaged. Acid rain has eroded what remains.

Now researchers from the University of Chicago are trying to undo the damage to the caves--virtually. By using the latest in digital photography and 3-D topography, they hope to create a computerized vision of how the caves looked centuries ago.

Collaborating with universities, museums and research institutions across China and the U.S., the researchers will attempt to bring back the temples' original splendor by scanning the caves and the plundered artwork and merging the images in virtual reality.

Project leader Katherine Tsiang Mino, associate director of the university's Center for the Art of East Asia, tracked down objects from the caves as part of her dissertation and located more than 100 pieces. Most now reside in private collections and museums, with the biggest and most important in the United States.

"When I was studying, I found more and more of them, which was very exciting, but then it was also very sad to see how badly damaged the caves are," Mino said.

"I always thought it would be interesting to try and match up where the sculptures [in museums] had come from, and also bring some attention to these very important sites so that they can get the sort of resources they need to protect them in the future."

Because very little information exists about the short-lived Northern Qi dynasty, which lasted from year 550 to 577, the team also is hoping the reconstruction will give insight into the religious beliefs of the time and how imperial sponsorship influenced the design of the Buddhist sculptures.

In addition, the researchers hope to use the finished product--a three-dimensional virtual replica of the decorated caves--as a teaching resource at schools and museums. Their ultimate goal is an exhibit that would include some of the actual sculptures, allowing viewers to see the objects in person and in the context of the original cave setting.

The caves are believed to have been established by two Northern Qi emperors who were devotees of the Buddhist religion.

Looting of the caves began shortly after the Chinese revolution of 1911. A few years later, officials in charge of the ancient sites decided to repair them to attract tourism.

Repairs to the caves done in the 1920s and 1930s replaced missing heads and hands with new ones, but with no model to guide the effort, the replacements looked "rather funny-looking," Mino said.

On recent trips to China, Mino said she overheard discussions about future renovations to the cave sites.

"It made me worry and even shudder...what they could do if they did not have the right models or they really did not know what they were doing," Mino said. "The question would be, how close would it be to how the original statues were?"

The researchers hope the project acts as a prototype for future endeavors involving stolen or displaced cultural objects.

Many museums are being pressed to return ancient artifacts to their original homes. Greek officials are pushing for the return of sculptures from the Parthenon, known as the Elgin Marbles, for example. The new technology could allow museums to continue research on such pieces without physically possessing them.

In 2000, the Altamira Museum and Investigation Center in Spain completed a similar digital reconstruction of the Altamira Caves, considered the Sistine Chapel of prehistoric cave art.

The China project, funded by a Getty Foundation Collaborative Research Grant and the Carpenter Foundation, is the most ambitious to date, Mino said.

That's because in addition to digitally reconstructing the caves, the project will repopulate the caves with original artifacts.

"We knew we could do digital photography quite easily... but we wanted to do something a little more groundbreaking," said Lec Maj, technical coordinator of the project and computer research adviser for the division of humanities at the University of Chicago.

To replicate all the intricate detail found in the caves, objects are sectioned. Each section is labeled and scanned with a digitizer. Then the individual sections are fitted together in precise alignment, called registering, to create an exact three-dimensional model.

Color is added later through high-resolution digital photographs that are merged with the 3-D image.

"There are many different applications for this new technology," Maj said. "This is sort of groundbreaking in terms of archeology and preservation."

http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=00000000004,00000001505,0,0,1,0