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Thesis

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Business images in the Kizil Caves and their Artistic Expression
Kucha Academy of Xinjiang Shen Chun
The Kizil Caves were built from 3rd century AD to 9th century AD and reflect influences from Buddhist art in India, Central Asia, and northern Central China. The unique cave patterns and mural styles not only reflect the ideals of Sarvasti-vada, but also reflect the material production, lifestyle, ideas, customs, and social conduct of the ancient Kucha Kingdom. The Kizil Caves clearly demonstrate Buddhism’s dissemination via the Western Regions eastbound and the formation of Kucha style Buddhism, a localized form of Buddhism that came along with the main religious transmission. At the same time, such caves bear witness to trade along the Silk Road and cultural exchange between the East and West. The business images of Jataka story murals in the Kizil Caves reflect the history of the Silk Roads. In ancient times, there were many merchants and messengers who passed along this way.
Based on archaeology, iconography, artistry, and comparative theory, we first investigated and arranged the business images of Kizil Caves. Then, we studied the composition, color, subjects, and the characteristics of diversification and localization of the images with the aid of artistry and comparative theory.
Through the analysis and discussion of business images, we can obtain deeper understanding about the national history, social customs, mode of production, and the lifestyle of ancient Kucha. This research will also have a positive effect on contemporary painting and the inheritance of excellent cultural traditions, as well as the absorption of foreign culture.