Ancient Chinese Caves Brought Back to Life Using projectiondesign®


F10 AS3D projectors used in immersive exhibition on view during Smithsonian’s Arthur M Sackler Gallery’s 25th Anniversary Celebration

Last Updated: November 30, 2012 12:20 pm GMT
(Fredrikstad, Norway--November 30, 2012) Visitors to “Pure Land: Inside the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang” during the 25th anniversary celebrations of Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC will witness a technological immersive application never seen before in the United States. The 3D 360-degree panoramic journey uses projectiondesign® F10 AS3D to reproduce stunning imagery of paintings and sculptures in the ancient rock cave’s 220-meter north wall known as Bhaisajyaguru’s Eastern Paradise in China, a UNESCO World Heritage site which is closed to ensure their preservation.

In summarizing the project, Julian Raby, The Dame Jillian Sackler Director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art says: “The ‘Pure Land’ project exemplifies the exhibition experience of the future.”

The new exhibit opens on 1 December, having been brought to Washington by Immersive Realisation Pty Ltd and transported from its home at ALiVE, an interdisciplinary art research initiative at the City University of Hong Kong; an incubator and innovations showcase for new forms of creativity at the vanguard of digital media in society.

"Through the combination of art, cinema, advanced visualization and an interactive environment, visitors to the exhibition will be treated to a gigantic visual spectacle with high-quality imaging and storytelling," says Professor Jeffrey Shaw, dean of the School of Creative Media at City University, Hong Kong.

The immersive audio-visual system uses six F10 AS3D projectors, six PCs with game graphics cards in them, surround-sound audio and a giant circular projection screen which is suspended from the ceiling.

“The resultant panoramic 3D projection gives a true-to-life experience of being present inside these historic caves. The technology's potential for academic and educational purposes is significant, in that many people can access the caves in a richer and more detailed way than at the physical site, where, for reasons of preservation, visitation is very restricted,” adds Shaw.

“We work exclusively with projectiondesign for projects like “Pure Land”, because their 3D projectors and hardware is ideal for edge-blending, and geometry correction in large-scale, multi-projector arrays. WE find that projectiondesign is the most robust and reliable projection technology out there.”

“The conservation and cultural significance of ancient projects through using 3D and interactive visualization has always been important to projectiondesign,” adds Thierry Ollivier, Vice President, Sales, Asia at projectiondesign.

Project credits:

Project conception and direction, Dr. Sarah Kenderdine and Prof. Jeffrey Shaw (City University Hong Kong); Project donor, Mr. Gabriel Yu (Chairman of Executive Committee of Friends of Dunhuang Hong Kong); Interpretation, Ms. Lou Jie (Dunhuang Academy); Cave 220 laser scan and photographic datasets, Mr. Wu Jian (Dunhuang Academy); Advisor, Mrs. Lee Mei-Yin (Special Researcher with Dunhuang Academy, Friends of Dunhuang Hong Kong); Software application, Mr. Mo Luk and Mr. Leith Chan; AVIE projection environment, UNSW iCinema Centre and Immersive Realisation; Projectors, projectiondesign.

“Pure Land” will be a highlight of the Sackler’s 25th anniversary celebration held Nov. 28—Dec. 1, and will stay open, free to the public, through Dec. 9. Timed same-day tickets will be available daily, on a first-come, first-served basis at the Sackler Pavilion. More information on the anniversary week can be found at

“Pure Land” will return in the spring of 2013 for a long-term installation in the new International Center Gallery shared by the Sackler and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art.


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