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Posts on the IDP Blog are introducing pieces as they become part of IDP. Similar to the situation in Europe and East Asia, there are collections resulting from expeditions as well as those purchased from various sources.Introduced here are several examples of explorations in the twentieth century.Through this series of events, we hope to bring together curators, librarians, conservation specialists, faculty, and graduate students in a rewarding, in-depth exploration of the rich heritage of Silk Road collections in North America. Michelle Wang introducing the speakers, Roland Lin (UNESCO) and Susan Whitfield (IDP), and discussant, Keith Wilson (Freer-Sackler Galleries) at an event given as part of the Critical Silk Road Seminar at Georgetown University.

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Their acquisitions, now in the Harvard Art Museums, included a statue of an attendant bodhisattva (Harvard Art Museum, 1924.70) and wall paintings from Dunhuang. Note: Interestingly, although many archaeologists from this imperial age acquired items from Dunhuang, it is Langdon Warner who receives most criticism, with visitors to the caves being shown the places from where these items originated.

Of course, Aurel Stein is also often vilified when it comes to his acquisitions from the Dunhuang Library Cave.] The Museum also houses many sculptures from Kharakhoto.

Moving forward, plans are currently underway for a series of on-site workshops in museums and libraries that will provide opportunities for hands-on engagement with a selection of these artefacts.

They re ect not only the cultural heritage of the premodern Silk Road in a diverse range of media but also its modern discovery and the twentieth century taste for collecting Central Asian antiquities. Wang is Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Georgetown University.

Through dedicated outreach, the project has yielded more than 1,300 objects from over 30 institutions.

The Dunhuang Foundation US supported travel for our group meetings in Washington, DC last November and in New York City this April to discuss the progress of the project and to view paintings and sculptures at the Brooklyn Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Closer to home, Miki and I examined paintings in Washington, DC’s Arthur M.

Sackler Gallery and the Turfan slides from the Führerprojekt in the National Gallery of Art this spring.

The Georgetown-IDP Project for North American Collections developed from conversations between Susan Whitfield, Miki Morita and myself that began in spring 2015, following Susan’s trip to Georgetown University to deliver a well-received talk on IDP and the landscape of international collaboration in the Critical Silk Road Studies Seminar, a year-long series of events supported by the Mellon Foundation that I co-organized at Georgetown in 2014-2015.

At that time, it quickly became obvious that the combination of Miki’s prior experience in similar projects and the resources and academic community for Silk Road studies at Georgetown and in the Washington, DC area were an ideal fit for convening this project, representing a major step forward for the large-scale incorporation of Silk Road artefacts in North American collections into the IDP database for the first time.

Langdon Warner (1881-1955) was a professor and curator at Harvard University.

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