“Hungarians on the Silk Road” exhibition

A joint exhibition of the Pallas Athene Innovation and Geopolitical Foundation (PAIGEO), Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Dunhuang Academy has opened at the Ybl Buda Creative House. The exhibition has been viewed by hundreds of people at the opening ceremony which was held on 26 November, 2018. The invited guests were greeted by István Monok, director general of the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Luo Huoqing deputy director of the Dunhuang Academy.

The Széchenyi expedition and Sir Aurel Stein’s explorations in the heart of Asia

The Silk Road, the Eurasian trade route linking China with the Mediterranean seashore was used not only for the purpose of commerce, but it also was the meeting point of the large civilizations of the East and West. From the 2nd century B. C. for more than a thousand years, silk, luxury items and other assorted merchandise was carried along this road to be exchanged in the towns and oases. It was also a conduit of ideas, beliefs, styles of art and technologies. Chinese, Indian, Iranian and classical Western culture intersected there and developed a new syncretistic culture. The road had been used by people from all walks of life, along with the fugitive ethnic groups hounded out from their homeland and dwelling place, there were artisans, artists, missionaries and envoys travelling along the route spanned by oasis cities, bringing along their culture, language, script, as well as their technical expertise. It had been along this route that the manufacturing of silk and paper travelled westwards, while vitrifacture headed toward China. This intellectual melting pot created a peculiar culture, whose material remains and documents as well as cartography and geology had been explored and studied, among others, by Hungarian scholars, the members of the Széchenyi Expedition and Sir Aurel Stein.

The expedition (between 1877–1880) led by Count Béla Széchenyi, elder son of the founder of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and the later archaeological and geographic exploratory work carried out over many decades by Sir Aurel Stein had a common point of interest: the Cave Temples of the Thousand Buddhas in Dunhuang.

The exhibition organized by the Oriental Collection of the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in cooperation with the Chinese Dunhuang Academy on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Count Béla Széchenyi’s and the 75th anniversary of Sir Aurel Stein’s death, presents historical photographs, maps, letters, manuscripts, as well as contemporary and modern publications and fi lms to guide the visitors to the scenes of the discoveries, among them to the most signifi cant artistic relic of the region, the Cave Temples of the Thousand Buddhas, in whose contemporary discovery these Hungarian scholars and travellers had played a path-breaking role.

The exhibition is available for the public until 7th January, 2019.

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