These sketches were made on August 16th, 2001, my first visit to the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang. Because permission to photograph the caves is expensive and difficult to obtain and because photography inside the dark chambers requires a large degree of technical skill, sketching proved to be the best way to capture small pieces of the cave painting. The Northern Wei style paintings were particularly successful subjects for sketching due to their bold lines and abstract, simplified human forms.

This figure was a raised relief sculpture attached to the wall of the Dunhuang monastery. The form was repeated in along the outside of the building.

Cave 428. A Northern Zhou (557 – 580 CE) figure. "Mural style reminiscent of 1920's Mexican mural painter- Reserve Corridor, Darmouth." This is where I first made the visual connection between early Dunhuang forms and the 1920's socialist murals by Orozco that line the Reserve Corridor at Dartmouth College's Baker Library.

Cave 257. Northern Wei (439 – 534 CE). With a little imagination, this haloed and mustached male aspara could be wearing a sombrero and strumming a guitar on the back of appaloosa.

Cave 249. Western Wei (535 – 557 CE) This room painted with startling blue figures on a light blue field. Musicians, guardian figures, dragons with rows of human heads and this "spectacled" acrobat made lively scenes on the walls.