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November 12, 2014


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I include this morsel for you/ just to say
that your Mural Express is mood / has transport/
has adventure. Has nos-tal-gia: Something of a
feeling of the beautiful & sacred. Known/glimpsed/

"...candied apple, quince and plum and gourd;
With jellies soother than the creamy curd,
And lucent syrups 'tinct with cinnamon
Manna and dates...
From Fez, and spiced dainties every one,
From, silken Samarkand to cedar'd Lebanon..."


Hey Peony! Check out the Bezeklik Caves!

Hi Don,

You know I love those photos you took at Bezeklik! This one, as you know, is my fav

Were you allowed into the caves themselves? I thought those particular caves were not open to public? Well, there is not a lot left, anyway, there I guess. Did you notice the link I have at left for Ryugaku University's digitally reconstructed Bezeklik mural project? It is pretty amazing.

I assume the “mysterious and sexy Csomo de Koros” mentioned above is not this Csomo de Koros. Anyhow, some of the Bezeklik caves are, or were, open, but there is very little in them. Some faint outlines of murals, mainly on the ceilings. The rest were destroyed by local iconoclasts and the Red Guards, or removed by Occidental (and maybe Japanese) archeologists. Some of the murals have been preserved in the Indian Art Museum in Dahlem, just outside of Berlin, Germany. Also see the Silk Road Restaurant in Ulaan Baatar. Also, sorry to go off-topic here, but I should call attention to the Tragic Situation of Nomads here in Mongolia.

Quite right, the sexy Csomo of my post is a friend who writes about Csomo! Actually, the murals were destroyed in a different way (not by iconoclasts and red guards but the majority were looted by Western/Japanese treasure hunters, with the finest pieces lost in Allied bombing in Berlin. I don't work with Ryudai on their project but work with Toyo Bunko in Japan on their silk road project and the story is far more interesting....I'll upload something for you later... in the meantime, is there a better pcture of that silk road map?? Did the restaurant owner create the map? It is very fetching. And wish you would stop being so elusive on facebook :)

My Lovely Peony! Even today you can see where the eyes and sometimes entire faces of some of the figures in the Bezeklik wall paintings were scratched out. This was supposedly done by local iconoclasts who objected to the portrayal of human beings. These paintings, I was told by local people, were not removed by later treasure hunters because they had already been damaged. These same local people told me that Red Guards destroyed much of what the treasure hunters had left. Whether this is true of not I do not know. Admittedly, my local informants were extremely anti-Chinese. In any case, while in the Bezeklik area don’t forget about nearby Gaochang and Toyuq. And on the north side of the Tian Shan there is the formerly very famous Uighur capital of Beshbaliq. As noted, the temple is the photo is supposed to contain excellently preserved murals. When I was there I almost got arrested, since the area was at the time still closed to the public, but the temple was in the process of being restored and now might be open to the public.

What a beautiful site you have!

Some of the historical stories told are done with such passion and immediacy that you seem to be writing about events you experienced yourself - perhaps this is so, right?

I will post a link to your page on my site.

Thank you,

Laura Kelley,
The Silk Road Gourmet

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