Chinese Dunhuang Studies in the 21st Century: BuddhistRoad Guest Lecture Series by Neil Schmid


Chinese research of the Dunhuang caves and the materials found especially in Dunhuang Cave 17, the so-called Library Cave has expanded rapidly over the last decades. An ever-growing number of academics, research projects and publications have provided a wealth of scholarly resources for the field of Dunhuang Studies as well as for the fields of humanities and social sciences. The lecture series “Chinese Dunhuang Studies in the 21st Century” given by Neil Schmid (Dunhuang Academy) aims to provide an insight into modern Chinese Dunhuang research. In a series of 6 lectures, Neil Schmid will give an overview of the major areas in Dunhuang research, as well as key scholars, publications, research projects, institutions and directions of research. Insights will be given into the existing material from Dunhuang and, with a focus on Chinese Dunhuang research, the extent to which sub-categories of Dunhuang studies are delineated by different institutions and social forces will be explored.

The lecture series will start on May 25th with the lecture “The Lay of the Land”, which will provide an overview of Chinese Dunhuang research in 2022, starting with an overview of the research in China from the 20th century onwards. This lecture lays the foundation for all following lectures.

The lecture will be held online via Zoom. To join the lecture and for more information about the lecture series and other upcoming BuddhistRoad guest lectures, please see or

Neil Schmid is Research Professor at the Dunhuang Academy. His scholarship centres on Dunhuang and explores a range of topics, including the role of Buddhist literature in ritual and art, medieval economic development, Esoteric Buddhism (Chin. mijiao, 密教), and the ritual aesthetics of painting and architectural space of the Mogao Caves. He is currently at work on several monographs, including From Byzantium to Japan: Ritual Objects and Religious Exchanges Across Eurasia in Late Antiquity, tracing the flow of exotic goods and ritual paraphernalia along the Silk Road, and the first-ever critical bibliographical survey of Dunhuang materials, entitled The Comprehensive Guide to Scholarly Resources for Dunhuang Studies.