Behold the Cave of the Thousand Buddhas Jan12

Behold the Cave of the Thousand Buddhas...

If I were fortunate enough to be able to travel to China, I would make the Mogao Caves near the city of Dunhuang a primary stop as the artifacts housed within these sandstone cliffs rival that of the Great Wall, the Forbidden City or the famous Terracotta Warriors. Impressive yet understated on the outside, these caverns carved within the cliffs near the edge of the Gobi Desert hide an unrivaled collection of Buddhist art, including over 2,400 sculptures and miles of murals spanning a period of 1,000 years, from the North Wei to the Yuan Dynasty. Once inside these modest-looking caves, you’ll discover a temple-like architecture filled with amazing statuary and wall murals that make this more than a cave with prehistoric wall paintings. According to legend, these caves were created in 366 C.E, when a traveling monk named Lè Zūn was inspired to build the first cave after experiencing a vision of a thousand Buddhas bathed in golden light. Later, he was joined by another monk, and the cave numbers grew. The caves were first used as a place for meditation, to serve the monasteries in the area. Since Dunhuang was a major trade route that linked China to the Mediterranean, travelers often came through the area, commissioning caves (all created by the monks) as offerings for safety and prosperity. The caves then lay dormant for nearly 600 years, when the Mongols invaded the area making travel to the area unsafe. Much later in 1900, interest was revived when Wang Yuanlu, a Taoist priest and self-appointed guardian of the caves, decided to do some restoration and discovered thousands of Buddhist scrolls in one of the caves. Discovery of these manuscripts brought much attention from Europe and archeological world. If the statuary and murals contained...

Introducing: Vicki Boatright (aka BZTAT)...

Artist Vicki Boatright, known as “BZTAT” (pronounced bee-zee-tat), is an accomplished artist with several public art projects to her credit. An avid pet lover, she specializes in whimsical drawings, paintings and prints of cats, dogs and other companion animals. She creates colorful customized pet portraits, which are unique in their original contemporary style. Vicki also creates murals and other artworks that address a variety of themes. BZTAT Studios is located in the trendy Canton, OH arts district. She also has a gallery at Embrace Pet Insurance in Beachwood, OH. In addition to her studio website at http://bztat.com, Vicki has used social media to develop a worldwide audience for her artwork. Other artists have come to her for guidance in using social media to develop personal branding and niche marketing through social media. Vicki holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree and a Master of Arts Degree in the visual arts from Marshall University in Huntington, WV and a Masters Degree in counseling from Marshall University. Until her recent retirement, she was a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and has since put those skills to work as an art instructor for youth. Vicki has completed a number of public and private art commissions in addition to a large body of work that follows her own vision. Her work encompasses a variety of styles and media however clear themes are evident throughout her work. She is known for her vivid colorations, utilizing painting, drawing, assemblage/collage, and digital media to create interesting works of art. Vicki signs her artwork BZTAT in homage to a feline companion of that name, who was an artistic inspiration to her for 19 years. We spoke with Vicki about her experiences in the art field: When and how did you first decide to...