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Wooden architectural parts from Kizil and Turfan: the Berlin collection
Klaas Ruitenbeek
Director of the Asian Art Museum, National Museums in Berlin
Among the early Xinjiang objects in Berlin, collected in the period 1902-1914, a considerable number of wooden architectural parts can be found. Serious research of these parts has started only recently. Most parts are from Gaochang. It was possible to reconstruct a large cluster comprising dougong and a coffered ceiling (fangjing). There are also elements in an Indian style, ultimately going back to Hellenistic architecture.
From Kizil there is much less. There are a sculpture niche in wood, and some corbels. Over the painted architectural friezes (trompe-l’oeil) in for example Cave 8, rows of square holes are found, so it is quite clear that the painted architecture was completed with real wooden parts.