Initiatives

Initiatives

The Tang Center engages in various multiyear research and publication activities.

Lo Archive Project

Lo Archive project, supported by a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, is a multiyear initiative focused on the art of the Buddhist cave temples at Dunhuang, China. The project focuses a unique archive of more than 2,500 historic photographs of the caves taken by James and Lucy Lo in 1943–44. The Lo Archive, which has invaluable historical, documentary, and aesthetic significance, preserves historical views of the caves, many of which are now irretrievably changed, and offers unique artistic images created by a photographer deeply steeped in the perspectives of art photography.

By researching and cataloguing these photographs and combining the findings with collaborative state-of-the-field research on the site, the project aims to preserve and enhance this rare photographic resource and to contribute to the research on and teaching of Chinese art history and Buddhist studies. The culmination of this project will be a seven-volume compendium Visualizing Dunhuang. The introductory volume discusses how James and Lucy Lo made the photographs and how their photographs gained status as an invaluable archive; publishes Lo Archive photographs of now-vanished views of the site, which has been altered by successive restoration and conservation campaigns; and presents newly created diagrams of the cave types, maps, and indices. Five volumes will reproduce over 2,000 photographs in duotone, arranged chronologically by cave in layouts that reference the contact sheet books assembled by the Los in the late 1940s. The set will culminate with a volume of research essays which examine topics ranging from the architecture of cave temples to painting and sculptural programs, Buddhist ritual practices, expeditionary photography, conservation, and the contributions of Dunhuang to art history. The anticipated release date of the publication is 2020.