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China‘s Mogao Grottoes spreads wings of digitalization for better cultural communication


2023-02-27 01:24

Wang Jintao
People's Daily Oneline


China's Dunhuang Academy, which administers the Mogao Grottoes, a 1,600-year-old UNESCO World Heritage site in northwest China's Gansu province, has built a rich base of cultural resources by developing a complete system that integrates digital cultural heritage collection, processing, storage, and display technologies. This has significantly promoted the innovative transformation and development of fine traditional Chinese culture.

For instance, it offers high-definition panoramic tours of 30 caves on digital platforms; its mini program on the social media platform WeChat has seen a total of over 200 million online interactions. Besides, it has launched an official virtual cartoon figure named Jiayao, which originated from a half-woman, half-bird creature on millennia-old murals.

The Dunhuang Academy employs a map app that uses augmented reality for navigation in the caves. When visitors' phone cameras are pointed to certain directions or at certain objects in the caves, the app overlays information and sometimes virtual Buddhist characters on the screen, such as the Deer of Nine Colors, whose story was discovered as cave paintings in the Mogao Grottoes.

Visitors can pose for pictures with these virtual characters and have the pictures sent to their phones through WeChat, said Zhang Ruizhi, a tour guide at the Dunhuang Academy.

The massive digital resources of the Mogao Grottoes, when assisted by spatial orientation and online-merge-offline technologies, can create a digital twin of the World Heritage site, which marks a new attempt that enables visitors to watch the grottoes outside of them, noted Yu Tianxiu, director of the academy's cultural relics digitalization institute.

It's not easy to move the cultural relics at the Mogao Grottoes to the digital world.







2023-02-27 09:23
Sinologists from across the globe speak at Qingdao center