Tuesday, February 15, 2005

File 1.04

Here on the Silk Road non-Chinese cosmopolitan but ephemeral cultures are said to have existed.

One strange motif, in which three hares chase each other round a circle, with the tips of each hare's single depicted ear meeting in the circle's centre, crops up in sixth-century painted ceilings at Dunhuang, thirteenth-century floor tiles in Chester Cathedral, and places in between. A fragment of late Tang painting from Mogao that looks for all the world like a classic Chinese Bodhisattva turns out on closer inspection to have blue eyes - and a Maltese cross on breast and head-dress. He may be a Nestorian saint; it was adherents to the Nestorian sect who first brought Christianity to China
TLS, Jan 7, 2005, p.4