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Digital caves bring history alive

By Fang Aiqing | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-04-28 08:34
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The Digital Library Cave project re-creates the 1,600-meter-long external cliff face of the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang, Gansu province.[Photo provided to China Daily]

For more than a century, the Library Cave, or Cave 17 of the Mogao Caves of Dunhuang, in Northwest China's Gansu province, has been famous for its extraordinary collection of relics and a tale that has had its share of twists and turns.

For many who have had their curiosity piqued and want to know more about its legendary past, the Gobi Desert and the arduous journey to get there has deterred them from visiting to see for themselves the grandeur of the Dunhuang frescoes, while preservation requirements have resulted in limits on the number of visitors allowed access.

However, the Digital Library Cave, launched by the Dunhuang Academy in conjunction with technology company Tencent on April 18, International Day for Monuments and Sites, joins an array of measures that give the public the chance to get a virtual glimpse of the ancient wonder.

With technological solutions and narratives that are usually applied in digital games, it provides an immersive, interactive experience with not only a representation of the physical grottoes, but also historical scenes re-created, based on the joint input of scholars and engineers.

Su Bomin, director of the academy, says: "The project has enabled the relics to come alive with new means of expression. It makes the value of these relics more accessible to the audience, especially the younger generation."

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