Digital exhibit by Tencent gives world access to Silk Road treasures in French museum

2021-05-18 22:40 1553

SHENZHEN, China, May 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Millennium-old Silk Road paintings, sculptures and scriptures in a Paris museum from the Buddhist caves at the ancient Chinese trading oasis of Dunhuang will be on digital display for all the world to appreciate.

Chinese tech giant Tencent (0700.HK), the Dunhuang Academy, and France's Guimet Museum, where the pieces now reside, are launching a joint program for the digital restoration and reproduction of the precious relics.

The initiative will allow virtual tours of the art treasures, some dating back to hundreds of years before Marco Polo's Silk Road adventures.

The demand for viewing these Buddhist scriptures, paintings and wooden sculptures is expected to be enormous.

A mini-program established on Tencent's WeChat that allows virtual tours of the home of the artifacts, the Dunhuang Mogao grottos, has attracted 39.88 million users since last year.

The treasures from the Guimet Museum are expected to be displayed through the same mini-program, and eventually through multiple digital channels.

Tencent will use three-dimensional image acquisition and processing, and apply cutting-edge technologies such as VR360 immersive media and AI for artifact protection and preservation.

Blockchain technology will be used for the digital artifacts' copyright protection — a technique Tencent expects to deploy widely in the future.

"It is hoped that during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the help of digital bridges, Dunhuang cultural exchanges can be further strengthened, and more joint exhibitions of digital cultural relics can be achieved," said Sophie Makariou, president of the Guimet Museum.

Dunhuang was a trading crossroads between East and West on the ancient Silk Roads, and its art represents a fusion of cultural influences.

Zhao Shengliang, director of the Dunhuang Academy, notes the art, which is appreciated around the world, "embodies the characteristics of multi-ethnic and multi-regional cultures."

"Through digital scanning and data collection, historical relics can be recreated in new virtual forms," said Liu Xiaolan, deputy general manager of Tencent's marketing and public relations department. This will give traditional culture "a new life in the digital world."

A Sino-France cultural seminar was held on May 18 to present the digital effort and discuss new method for digital protection and promotion of Dunhuang relics.

Over the next three years, Tencent will facilitate more exhibitions of Dunhuang artifacts in China and abroad. The three parties will also encourage other Chinese and Western cultural institutions to join the initiative.

Source: Tencent