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“Wall painting fragments from Kumtura in the Chinese and Uygur style in the Asian Art Museum, Berlin”
Dr. Lilla Russell-Smith
Curator of Central Asian, Art Asian Art Museum, Berlin
The Asian Art Museum, National Art Museums in Berlin, houses wall paintings now missing in-situ in Kumtura, since the German Turfan-Expeditions removed them in the early twentieth century (1902-1914). The museum’s archives contain original photos, drawings and notes describing the sites. A publication is planned together with the Kucha Research Academy to publish the wall painting fragments in the Berlin collection in a joint English-Chinese language publication.
At least one larger wall painting from Kumtura may have been put together wrongly during earlier conservation. Chinese authors have noticed the discrepancies and started assigning wall paintings to other caves in Kumtura. This just leads to more confusion. By presenting available archaeological and archival data the first aim of the paper is to identify and answer these questions. Working with the available comparative material, for example from Dunhuang, the paper will also aim to identify the changes in regional styles in the eighth-ninth centuries (Chinese influence in Kucha) and in the tenth-eleventh centuries (influence of Uygur Buddhist art in the Kucha area).