Institute awarded funding to record endangered Chinese temple wall paintings

27 February 2018

Wall painting from temple in Shanxi province (Image copyright: UCL and Zhejiang University)

The UCL Institute of Archaeology has been awarded a grant of £831,300 from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, to survey wall paintings found in the historic temples of China’s Shanxi Province.

The grant will support the recording of hundreds of endangered frescoes, witnessing many centuries of Chinese folk traditions and Buddhist and Daoist beliefs. These paintings decorate temples found within the remote villages of this large province along the Yellow River and on the borders of Inner Mongolia.

Much of this material has never previously been recorded, and the project will use new digital technologies to create an open access digital library of temple paintings and architecture. The project's photographs, plans and databases will be published online, freely accessible for all to consult.

Logo of Arcadia-a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin

This initiative is a partnership project between Zhejiang University, Northwest University China, Peking University and UCL (represented by two research centres within the Institute of Archaeology: the International Centre for Chinese Heritage and Archaeology and the Centre for Applied Archaeology).

Research will be guided by the Shanxi Provincial Bureau of Cultural Heritage (SBCH) and an international advisory board.