In this episode, we look at a Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra piece called Dunhuang. It tells the story of a Buddhist sculptor toiling away in remote caves. Exhausted, he falls asleep and the Buddha statues and murals around him come to life.
Dunhuang is an oasis town far out in northwest China, at the edge of the Gobi Desert. It became part of the Chinese empire during the Han Dynasty and grew into an important frontier town along the Silk Road. Today, Dunhuang is most famous for the ancient artwork of its caves.
They are also called the Thousand Buddha Caves. Rows and rows of carved Buddhas are seated in the lotus position, their hands gesturing like a language, their presence populating the caves with life, giving voice to the belief that, even in our suffering, we are not alone.
So, where did all this art come from? A popular origin story features a Buddhist monk named Le Zun. Around the year 366, he was crossing the desert when he stopped to rest at an oasis near Dunhuang. As dusk fell, the sky suddenly filled with giant glowing Buddhas and heavenly fairies, accompanied by radiant light and divine music. The monk was so moved by the scene that he decided to stay and immortalize his vision. He entered one of the nearby caves and filled it with art…
Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra’s Dunhuang is composed by D.F. and arranged by Jing Xian. Join us in this episode as we take a look at how Shen Yun’s unique music tells this magical story.