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敦煌石窟:黄沙洗礼千年的艺术殿堂

更新时间:2015-10-20 18:21:12 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

1,000 Years of Art at the Edge of the Gobi Desert
敦煌石窟:黄沙洗礼千年的艺术殿堂

The first inkling that we were getting close came toward the end of our flight from Beijing into northwestern China when snow-blanketed mountains suddenly appeared above the beige miasma of the desert floor. Morning sunlight sparkled off the grand Kunlun range that borders the northern edge of the Tibetan plateau and the southern rim of the Gobi Desert, a welcoming note on our journey to a distant world of Buddhist art painted and carved in grottoes centuries ago.

从北京前往中国西北的飞行快要结束时,白雪皑皑的群山从沙漠上空的米黄色扬尘中突然冒出,这是提醒我们快到了的第一个信号。清晨的阳光照耀在雄伟的昆仑山脉之上,它与青藏高原北缘和戈壁滩的南缘相邻。这光芒仿佛是欢迎的问候,迎接我们踏上通往遥远世界的旅程,目睹几个世纪前绘制雕刻在洞窟内的佛教艺术。

We were a group of seven — an American gallerist in Beijing, a Thai publisher of art books, a Singaporean businessman, among others — connected by our interests in Chinese art and history.

我们一行七人——一位来自北京的美国画廊主人、一位来自泰国的艺术书籍出版人、一位新加坡商人,以及其他一些人——我们因为对中国艺术和历史感兴趣而聚到了一起。

Our intrepid leader, Mimi Gardner Gates, a specialist in Chinese art and the former director of the Seattle Art Museum, raises funds to support the preservation of what we had come to see: the Dunhuang caves where delicate, brightly hued wall paintings and carvings depict religious and social life from the fourth to the 14th centuries during the height of Buddhist culture in China.

我们无畏的引领者是米米·加德纳·盖茨(Mimi Gardner Gates)。她是一位中国艺术专家,曾任西雅图美术馆(Seattle Art Museum)馆长,为我们前来参观的这座石窟募集保护资金。在敦煌的石窟中,技法精湛、色彩明亮的壁画和石刻,描绘了4世纪至14世纪中国佛教文化巅峰时期的宗教和社会生活。

The city of Dunhuang, a hodgepodge of cheap stores and a mediocre night market, was once a thriving oasis on the Silk Road, beckoning caravans of pilgrims and merchants from Central Asia and India with their Buddhist beliefs, and fabulous jewels and gold. As we arrived at the modern airport, it was hard not to think about more recent intruders: European and American scholars who visited the caves in the early 20th century, fell in love with what they found, and snatched priceless sculptures, manuscripts and frescoes for museums in London, Paris and Cambridge, Mass.

敦煌城里如今遍布廉价的杂货店,还有一座平平无奇的夜市,这里曾是古代丝绸之路上繁华的绿洲,吸引着中亚和印度的朝圣者和商人,他们传播了佛家思想,带来了光彩夺目的珠宝和黄金。我们抵达现代化的机场时,不禁想起了近代的侵入者:欧洲和美国学者在20世纪初期造访了这里的洞窟,深深地被这里的宝藏所吸引,将无价的雕刻、抄本以及壁画掠夺到了伦敦、巴黎和马萨诸塞州坎布里奇的博物馆。

Theirs had been arduous treks compared with ours. The Harvard art historian and archaeologist Langdon Warner endured more than three months on an ox-drawn cart as he headed back to Beijing from Dunhuang in 1924 with a three-and-a-half-foot bodhisattva wrapped in his underwear for his patrons in Cambridge. In contrast, our journey was a comfortable three-hour flight from Beijing on Air China.

相比我们的旅行,他们旅途更加艰险。1924年,哈佛大学的艺术史学家及考古学家兰登·华尔纳(Langdon Warner)坐了三个多月的牛车,从敦煌辗转回了北京,内衣里包着一尊3.5英尺高的菩萨雕像,要交给他在坎布里奇的客户。与他相反,我们的旅行非常舒适,从北京到敦煌,乘坐国航的航班仅需3个小时。

And while some of these early scholars — it is tempting to call them scoundrels — spent months in Dunhuang, recovering from their journeys, dodging diphtheria and other diseases, we spent four days in a pleasant hotel on the edge of the dunes. Over breakfasts of dumplings and Chinese porridge on the roof deck, we watched the sun rise and the sky change from flamingo pink to lapis blue. At sunset, we drank local wine pressed from new vineyards coaxed out of the sandy soil.

早前的一些学者——很难不把他们称作恶棍——为了缓解旅途奔波之苦,躲避白喉等疾病,要在敦煌停留数月。而我们在沙丘边缘舒适的酒店里住了四天。在屋顶吃完早餐(饺子和稀饭)后,我们欣赏了美轮美奂的日出,看着天色从红鹤粉变到青金蓝。日落时,我们品尝了当地酿的葡萄酒,出自沙土上精心培育出的葡萄园。

And, of course, our gear was far less elaborate than that of our predecessors. In a display near the caves that is devoted to the travesties of the Western scholars, a photo of Warner depicts him in knee-high boots, his hat at a rakish angle and a shovel in his right hand, ready to dig for antiquities. We, on the other hand, wore running shoes for the easy trek along the outdoor passageways that connect the caves, and carried little more than cellphones and cameras. (No photos, however, are allowed in the caves, to keep visitors moving swiftly since the carbon dioxide in our breath damages the wall art, and camera flashes don’t help either.)

当然,我们的装束相比前人也简单很多。石窟附近的陈列区展示了西方学者的滑稽形象。在一张照片里,华尔纳穿着齐膝的靴子、把帽子歪戴到不羁的角度,右手握着铲子,准备挖掘古物。再看看我们,我们穿着跑步鞋,从通向石窟的露天步道悠闲地行走,身上除了手机和相机就没有什么了。(但是石窟内不允许照相,并要求游客快速离开,因为呼出的二氧化碳会损坏壁画,闪光灯也会造成影响。)

As we learned from Ms. Gates, those earlier Western scholars were dazzled for good reason. She never let us forget that we were seeing original art in situ, about which there was no question of authenticity.

据盖茨女士介绍,这些早期的西方学者如此着迷是有原因的。她告诉我们,我们是在现场观看艺术品的原件,毫无疑问都是真品。

When Warner and others like him arrived, they found 1,000 years of art that told the story of China’s imperial dynasties and their long relationship with Buddhism, which seeped into China from India in the first century. In A.D. 366, according to legend, a monk named Yuezun arrived in Dunhuang, and had a vision of a thousand Buddhas. He was so overwhelmed he chiseled a cave for meditation in a vast sandstone cliff about 15 miles from the city center at a place now known as the Mogao Caves. Master artists and their apprentices began painting images of Buddha and his life story in murals that stretched across cave walls, and, in some cases, onto the ceilings.

当华尔纳和他的同行到达这里时,他们发现了历经1000多年的艺术宝库,其中展现了中国各朝代与佛教之间久远的故事。佛教在公元一世纪时,就从印度渗透到了中国。根据传说,公元366年,一位名为乐尊的僧人来到敦煌,在这里见到了一千位佛陀。他深受触动,在距离城中心约50里的砂石崖壁上开掘了一处洞穴用以打坐,这座洞穴如今称为莫高窟。之后,艺术大师及其徒弟们开始通过壁画的形式,描绘佛祖以及他们的生活故事,壁画覆盖了石窟的墙壁,有时还画到了洞窟顶上上。

The monk sparked a trend; over the years, about 1,000 caves were carved out of the mile-long escarpment as shrines or living quarters for monks, or the equivalent of private art museums where rich families could show off their wealth. By 1400, the exuberant show of art and religion faded as maritime routes supplanted the Silk Road.

乐尊和尚开启了一种潮流。经年累月,1600多米长的悬崖上开挖了1000多处洞窟作为佛殿或僧舍,或者供富贵家族展示自己财富的私人艺术馆。到1400年,随着海上航路逐渐取代了丝绸之路,曾经兴盛的艺术和宗教景象随即凋零。

When the caves were abandoned, the sweeping desert sands took over, ruining some, damaging others, but preserving many. Today, 735 caves remain, and nearly 500 are decorated.

石窟废弃后,肆虐的黄沙侵袭,一部分石窟彻底消失,一部分遭受了损坏,但有很多存留了下来。今天,仍存有735座石窟,其中大约500座装点着壁画或塑像。

These days, streams of Chinese tourists arrive in great numbers — 14,000 on one day this summer. The biggest challenge for the Dunhuang Academy, the institution that manages the site, is crowd control, as we learned at the new visitors’ center, a building designed by the Chinese architect Cui Kai to blend into the desert dunes.

如今,成群的中国游客蜂拥而至,今年夏天每天有1.4万人参观。我们从新游客中心了解到,石窟的管理机构敦煌研究院面临的最大挑战,就是人群控制。这座由中国建筑师崔凯建造的中心,与周围的沙丘很协调。

With a theater that gives a 360-degree digital representation of one of the caves, the center is an important tool in the battle to keep the Dunhuang caves intact. Since the center opened last year, tourists who are not on a private tour like ours are required to go there first, and watch the digital show, a substitute for lengthy tours that are no longer allowed for most visitors.

中心剧场内提供了石窟的360度电子展示,这是保证敦煌石窟完好的重要工具。自从中心去年投入运营以来,无法像我们这样作为贵宾接待的游客,需要先来到这里,欣赏石窟的电子展示,用以替代从前漫长的石窟之旅。如今对于多数游客来说,全程参观已经难以实现。

Most of these tourists are limited to the hustle of a 75-minute visit that covers eight caves. We, however, had almost unfettered access thanks to Ms. Gates, who has visited the caves for 20 years and whose Dunhuang Foundation has raised significant funds for their maintenance.

多数游客只能匆匆忙忙地花75分钟参观八座石窟。不过多亏了盖茨女士,我们的参观几乎毫无限制。20年来,盖茨女士时常到访这里,她的敦煌基金会(Dunhuang Foundation)为石窟的维护募集了大量资金。

On our first morning, a shuttle bus dropped us in a grove of aromatic pines, and soon we were at the foot of the rock face that inspired the monk, Yuezun, nearly 1,700 years ago.

来到这里的第一天早上,班车把我们带到了一处香松林。不久,我们来到了一块岩壁脚下,就是这里,在大约1700年前,启发了乐尊和尚。

Looking up, we could see a honeycomb of dark holes where the caves pierced the rock. Much of the rock is now buttressed with concrete, a utilitarian reinforcement devised in the 1960s when China was short of cash and architects.

向上看,能够看到蜂窝般的黑洞,洞窟凿入岩石。如今大部分岩石经过了混凝土支护,这是在1960年代,中国在缺少资金和建筑人员的条件下,想出的加固方法。

The most splendid cave art was produced during the height of the early Tang dynasty from roughly 618 to 718, a period when the statues and mural paintings were the most sumptuous. In one tableau, which is rendered in greens, browns and beige, a wide-girthed, beautifully dressed Chinese emperor listens closely to a debate on Buddhist doctrine The artists, who usually painted with rabbit hairbrushes, achieved their rich colors by grinding and mixing mineral and organic pigments — red ocher, cinnabar, lapis lazuli — much as painters do today, according to Susan Whitfield, the director of the International Dunhuang Project at the British Library.

最灿烂的石窟艺术出现在唐初,大约在公元618年到718年之间,这期间创造的雕像和壁画最为瑰丽。在一个场景中,画师使用绿色、棕色和米色,描绘一位胖胖的、衣着精致的中国皇帝在认真倾听佛法辩论。大英图书馆(British Library)的国际敦煌项目(International Dunhuang Project)主任苏珊·惠特菲尔德(Susan Whitfield)说,这些画师通常使用兔豪毛笔,通过研磨和混合矿物,他们获得了层次丰富的色彩和有机颜料——赭红、朱砂、青金石——这与如今画家的做法相差不大。

After the Tang, there was a 70-year interlude of Tibetan rule, followed by a long line of local clans who commissioned life-size portraits of themselves. The Cao family, for example, loved their women, and had them painted on the cave walls with rouged cheeks, layers of splendid necklaces and voluminous gowns. Some of the caves used as chapels featured floor-to-ceiling paintings in lapis blue and earth reds that depict the life of the Buddha.

唐代以后,西藏对这里进行了70年的短暂统治,之后很长一段时间,当地的部族委托画师在这里为他们绘制真人大小的肖像。比如曹氏家族热爱自家的女性,就让画师把她们画在石窟的墙壁上,这些肖像脸颊上抹着胭脂,戴着华丽的项链,穿着繁琐的礼服。在一些被用作小佛堂的石窟中,画师用青金石蓝和土红色描绘了佛陀的一生,图案从地面延伸到窟顶。

In several caves, scenes show daily village life: figures bathing, wheat being winnowed and preparations for a wedding ceremony. Some caves are as large as a small ballroom with high coffered ceilings covered with fields of patterns that give the illusion of draped fabric in a desert tent. Others feature deep niches with life-size sculptures of Buddha and his disciples. Much of the painting is devoted to Buddha, but it was also easy to imagine from the mortal figures in the murals that during its heyday Dunhuang was alive with traders dealing in silk, furs, ceramics, gold and ivory.

在几个石窟中有日常乡村生活的场面:人们洗澡、扬谷、筹备婚礼。一些石窟的大小犹如小型宴会厅,格子天花板上布满了图案,看上去像是沙漠帐篷顶上的褶皱。另外一些石窟中深嵌着壁龛,里面是佛陀及其弟子真人大小的雕像。很多绘画都是关于佛陀的,但是从壁画描绘的世俗者形象中,你也很容易想象得到,在敦煌的鼎盛时期,买卖丝绸、皮草、陶瓷、黄金和象牙的商人让这里呈现出怎样的一派勃勃生机。

The size of some of the sculptures is startling. A 75-foot-tall Buddha stands bolt upright, carved from the rock face and covered in plaster, protected from the elements by the facade of the Nine-Story Temple. In a nearby cave, a 50-foot-long Buddha statue from the Tang dynasty lies on its side, tranquil in death, surrounded by paintings of anguished disciples.

一些雕像的尺寸十分惊人。一座笔直站立的佛像高75英尺,从岩壁上雕刻而出,覆以灰泥,并用“九层楼”为它遮风挡雨。在附近的一个石窟里,一座唐代的50英尺长涅槃佛像卧在一侧,周围画着悲痛的弟子。

On our second day — after being greeted by Ms. Gates’s breakfast mantra, “Let’s go to more caves” — we drove two hours in a minibus on a paved road to Yulin, a rock face that is also punctuated with caves. The desert and the distant snow-encrusted mountains along the route were a reminder of the terrain along the old Silk Road.

第二天,盖茨用他的早餐口头禅跟我们打招呼:“我们去看看更多的石窟”。之后我们乘坐一辆面包车,在一条铺面的路上行驶了两个小时,到达了榆林,那里的岩壁上也开凿了很多石窟。沿途看见沙漠和远处白雪点缀的山峰,不免想到古代丝绸之路的地形就是这样。

“This is one of the highlights,” said Ms. Gates as we clambered with a young Chinese guide, Wang Yan, to Cave No. 3 at Yulin, a space measuring about 20 by 20 feet. Here the 10th-century artists painted with ink and brush in rich blues and greens the color of malachite. Landscapes with graceful waterfalls and willowy trees surrounded scores of Buddha’s followers dressed in robes, their hair tightly knotted on top of their heads.

“这是亮点之一,”盖茨说,当时我们和年轻的中国导游王燕(音)爬上了榆林第3号石窟,里面的空间大约有20×20英尺。在这里,10世纪的艺术家们使用笔墨,画出了孔雀石那种层次丰富的蓝色和绿色壁画。佛陀的追随者们身着长袍,头发紧紧扎束在头顶,周围环绕着优美的瀑布和袅娜的树木。

One follower, Samantabhadra, her face a portrait of calm, sailed through the landscape on the back of an elephant whose feet were planted on lotus leaves. It was such fine line painting. Who were the artists?, we asked. The artists were almost always anonymous, and many were just paid with food, Ms. Gates said.

其中的一位追随者普贤菩萨面容平静,坐在脚踩荷叶的大象背上轻快地穿过一片山水。实在是精彩的线描绘画。我们询问是谁画的。盖茨表示,这些画家几乎都是无名的,其中很多人得到的唯一报酬是食物。

At Yulin, we ate a delicious farm-cooked lunch at a no-name rustic restaurant set beside the Yulin River, a fast flowing, narrow stream. The menu came from the fields: elm tree seeds coated in flour and steamed; stir-fried green beans; steamed pumpkin slices; and soup with freshly made noodles and veal.

我们在狭窄湍急的榆林河旁的一家无名乡村餐馆吃了一顿美味的农家午餐。菜单上的菜都来自田里:蒸榆钱、炒青豆、蒸南瓜片以及现做的面条和牛肉汤。

Back at the Mogao Caves, another local guide, Liu Qin, an art historian at the Dunhuang Academy, was eager to show us the spot where Warner ripped out the statue. In Cave No. 328, Mr. Liu showed us a Buddha set on a low platform surrounded by a half-dozen attendants. On the far left at an easy-to-reach height, one attendant is missing, a gap that destroys the symmetry of the tableau. A slightly raised gray plaster disc marks the place where Warner and his men removed the bodhisattva.

回到莫高窟,另一名当地导游——敦煌研究院的艺术历史学家刘勤(音)迫切地引领我们参观华尔纳劫走雕像的地方。在第328号石窟,刘勤向我们展示了坐在一个低矮的平台上、由六名侍者围绕的佛陀雕像。在最左边很容易触及的高度,少了一名侍者,这一缺口破坏了画面的对称性。一个略微高出一点的灰泥圆盘标记着华尔纳及其手下掠走的菩萨像所在的位置。

Mr. Liu was also anxious to take us to the place where Aurel Stein, a British historian, and Paul Pelliot, a French scholar, took thousands of books and manuscripts. Inside the entrance to Cave No. 17, Mr. Liu pointed to a small, nearly empty room where Stein found 7,000 manuscripts, including one of the world’s oldest printed books, the Diamond Sutra, produced in 868. It is now at the British Library. Stein paid a local monk £130 for his booty. A little later, Pelliot took another substantial haul of scrolls for the Musée Guimet in Paris, and paid even less.

刘勤还热切地带我们参观了英国历史学家奥莱尔·斯坦因(Aurel Stein)和法国学者保罗·伯希和(Paul Pelliot)带走的数千份书籍及手稿所在的地方。在17号石窟入口处,刘勤指向一个很小而且几乎空荡荡的屋子,斯坦因在那里发现了7000份原稿,其中包括世界上历史最悠久的印刷书籍——公元868年印制的《金刚经》。《金刚经》现藏于大英图书馆(British Library)。斯坦因向一名当地僧侣支付了130英镑就带走了他所掠夺的物品。不久之后,伯希和以更低的价格带走了另一批书卷,送到巴黎的吉美艺术博物馆(Musée Guimet)。

In recent years, the Chinese authorities have said the treasures from Dunhuang now stashed abroad should be returned. That battle may be waged in the future. For the moment, the new director of the Dunhuang Academy, Wang Xudong, has a friendlier approach. Over lunch in his private dining room, Mr. Wang, who praised Ms. Gates’s work, said he was intent on making Dunhuang not only a tourist attraction but also an international research center for scholars.

近些年来,中国当局曾表示,存放在海外的敦煌珍宝应该归还给中国。未来可能会上演争夺战。目前,敦煌研究院新任院长王旭东采取了一种比较友好的方式。在私人餐厅吃完午餐后,王旭东称赞了盖茨的工作,称他计划使敦煌不仅成为观光胜地,还要成为国际研究中心。

Unlike the Great Wall, a monument to China’s strenuous efforts to keep outsiders at bay, ancient Dunhuang was inclusive, a fitting theme for the contemporary era of China’s global reach.

长城是中国为抵御外来者开展的宏大工程的遗迹。与长城不同,古老的敦煌是兼收并蓄的,这是一个符合当代中国全球影响力的主题。

“Dunhuang is a broader story,’’ he said. “It shows China’s willingness to interact with other cultures.”

“敦煌要更广阔,”他说。“显示了中国希望与其他文化互动的意愿。”

Our hotel and flights were organized by Abercrombie & Kent Hong Kong. The round-trip flight between Beijing and Dunhuang on Air China and three nights at the Dunhuang Silk Road Hotel, double room, breakfast included: $1,470.

雅趣旅遊(香港)有限公司为我们安排了酒店和航班。我们乘坐的是中国国际航空公司往返北京与敦煌的航班,在敦煌山庄住了三晚,双人房含早餐价格为:1470美元(约合9345元人民币)。

The Dunhuang Foundation, established in 2010 by Mimi Gardner Gates, a group that supports the preservation of the caves in conjunction with the Dunhuang Academy, requests a $2,500 per person, tax deductible donation for the full access tour with Ms. Gates. The foundation plans at least two trips in 2016, dates to be determined. Information: dunhuangfoundation.us.

米米·加德纳·盖茨于2010年创办了敦煌基金会(Dunhuang Foundation),该组织与敦煌研究院协力支持石窟保护工作。与盖茨一同完成不加限制的参观需要每人捐赠2500美元,捐款可以抵税。该基金会计划2016年至少组织两次旅行,日期待定。具体信息请查看dunhuangfoundation.us.

As excellent preparation (or in case you cannot go) the Getty Center in Los Angeles is opening an exhibition on the Dunhuang caves in May 2016 that will feature three hand-painted replicas of caves at Dunhuang; the ninth-century Diamond Sutra, on loan from the British Library; and other art and sculpture borrowed from Dunhuang.

洛杉矶盖蒂中心(Getty Center)将在2016年5月举办敦煌石窟展,可以作为旅行的一次理想的准备工作(或以防你无法前往敦煌)。展览中有三个手绘的敦煌石窟复制品;从大英图书馆借出的公元9世纪印制的《金刚经》;以及从敦煌借出的艺术品和雕像。

For background reading: A new account of America’s fascination with Chinese art, “The China Collectors: America’s Century-Long Hunt for Asian Art Treasures,” by Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac (Palgrave Macmillan), has a highly readable chapter on the adventures of Langdon Warner. A more scholarly account of Dunhuang is “Cave Temples of Mogao at Dunhuang: Art and History on the Silk Road,” by Roderick and Susan Whitfield and Neville Agnew (Getty Conservation Institute).

背景阅读:有关美国对中国艺术的迷恋的新记述,卡尔·E·梅耶(Karl E. Meyer)与沙林·布莱尔·布莱萨克(Shareen Blair Brysac)合著的《中国藏家:美国追寻亚洲艺术珍宝的百年》(The China Collectors: America’s Century-Long Hunt for Asian Art Treasures,麦克米伦出版社)中有关兰登·华尔纳冒险经历的章节非常值得一读。还有一本比较学术的书籍,罗德里克(Roderick)和苏珊·惠特菲尔德(Susan Whitfield)及内维尔·阿格纽(Neville Agnew)所写的《敦煌莫高窟的石窟寺:丝绸之路上的艺术与历史》(Cave Temples of Mogao at Dunhuang: Art and History on the Silk Road,盖蒂保护研究所出版)。

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