Dunhuang textiles in the UK

Project team



  • Prof ZHAO Feng, China National Silk Museum, Hangzhou
  • Dr Frances Wood, The British Library
  • Helen Persson, Victoria & Albert Museum

Supported by

  • The British Academy

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The Caves of the Thousand Buddhas, near Dunhuang (northwest China) are a key site on the Silk Road. One of those caves, Cave 17, was a hidden library containing paintings, documents, textiles and other finds that had been sealed off in the eleventh century. In the early twentieth century Sir Aurel Stein (1862-1943) sent many of these finds to London, where they are now in the British Museum, British Library and Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).

China’s leading expert on silk, Prof ZHAO Feng, has been working on the Dunhuang textiles at the British Museum and Helen Persson has been working on the Dunhuang textiles at the V&A. The aim of the project was to bring their research together, along with a history of the collection, and to publish a scholarly catalogue.

This project has been completed. The catalogue was published in 2007 in separate English and Chinese volumes.

Zhao Feng, Helen Wang, Helen Persson, Frances Wood, Wang Le and Xu Zheng (eds), Textiles from Dunhuang in UK Collections (Shanghai: Donghua University Press, 2007).

赵丰, Helen Wang, Helen Persson, Frances Wood, 王乐, 徐铮 著编, 《伦敦所藏敦煌纺织品》, 上海东华大学出版社, 2007年.


The front cover of the Chinese edition of the catalogue