In conjunction with the exhibition Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road, musicians from the Silk Road Ensemble are in residence at the Getty to create pop-up musical performances inspired by the art and replica caves on view.

In this performance created specifically for video, Kojiro (Ko) Umezaki presents “Empty Bell,” a traditional melody for the shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute). He was inspired to choose this music—which traces its origins to Japanese mendicant monks of the Fuke school—by the sculptural depictions of similar monks in the life-size replica of Cave 285, which is on view at the Getty.

Look for more videos coming soon featuring other artists from the Ensemble, playing music inspired by the caves.

More to Explore

Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road exhibition information

Silk Road Ensemble Interprets Dunhuang through Spontaneous Live Music Iris article

Silk Road Ensemble musician and instrument profiles

Art, History, and Conservation of the Cave Temples of Dunhuang video

Virtual Tour of Cave 285, Mogao Grottoes

[Shakuhachi instrumental music plays throughout]

KOJIRO UMEZAKI: The shakuhachi actually was played by wandering monks in Japan, maybe not necessarily to play music, but to use it as a tool for practicing breathing and meditation.

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