The Association for Asian Studies Awards 2023 Book Prize to the Tang Center's Dora Ching

Feb. 16, 2023

Visualizing Dunhuang: The Lo Archive Photographs of the Mogao and Yulin Caves Wins the Association for Asian Studies Inaugural Bei Shan Tang book prize

The nine-volume set Visualizing Dunhuang: The Lo Archive Photographs of the Mogao and Yulin Caves (Princeton University Press 2021) edited by the Tang Center's Dora Ching has won the Bei Shan Tang book prize, which recognizes research in Chinese art history.

"I am deeply honored to receive the inaugural Bei Shan Tang Catalogue Prize for Visualizing Dunhuang. Working on the Lo Archive to create Visualizing Dunhuang was a once-in-a-lifetime experience: The Buddhist caves are awe-inspiring, and the Lo Archive photographs are extraordinary, ranging from documentary to sheer artistry. I am grateful to the many colleagues who contributed to this project, and this prize will help bring more attention to the Buddhist caves and this remarkable photographic resource." – Dora C. Y. Ching, Deputy Director, Tang Center for East Asian Art

Detail of Dunhuang sculpture showing bust

Mogao Cave 45, west wall Buddha niche. High Tang (704–781). Lo Archive photograph, 1943–44. Princeton University (Lo 045-7)

For a “Look inside” the volumes, view this video

Specialty book printer Trifolio of Verona, Italy, printed the volumes.  Ching has always selected printers who specialize in art publishing, and given the complexity of the project, with nine volumes, a separate imprint of volume nine with its stand-alone paperback, and a booklet, Trifolio emerged as the best-equipped choice. 

"We selected Trifolio in Italy because of the Trifolio team’s expertise in printing multiple volumes and their proven track record of printing black-and-white photographs and drawings (I had seen the Jasper Johns Catalogue Raisonné of Drawing, printed in 2018). While printing test sheets, they also recommended not just duotone but tritone printing for the Lo Archive photographs, and the results were astounding." – Ching

Dunhuang cave black and white

Mogao Cave 259. Preaching scene, north wall (damaged); and Buddha niches, north wall of Cave 259. Northern Wei (439–534). Lo Archive photograph, 1943–44. Princeton University (Lo 257-1)

The volumes were designed by Princeton graduates Joseph Cho '94 *97 and Stefanie Lew *96 of Binocular.  The close collaboration with the designers and printer resulted in this stunning, prize-winning set.

"Joseph Cho and Stefanie Lew worked closely and intensively with Trifolio to make adjustments and enhancements during pre-press and while on-press. The close relationship we had with Binocular and Trifolio made the production and printing possible, even during the pandemic when we halted printing and had a six month hiatus when parts of volumes 2, 3, and 4 had already been printed. The hiatus allowed me to incorporate more research and discoveries, even though some parts had already been printed! I feel very fortunate to have had such partners for this project." – Ching

Watch the printing process here.