"It is extraordinary how vivid the colours are and the level of detail are." Continue reading the main story While statues and cave murals remain at Dunhuang, Bryan says it is "poignant" that the silk paintings were removed.
When Wang Yuanlu uncovered the Library Cave, he offered the contents to local officials in the hope of receiving funds for conservation work.
He bought around 10,000 documents and paintings for the British Museum for £130. His linguistic skills allowed him to identify some of the best items in the collection, which he took away for just £90.
Buddha Preaching the Law from around AD700 is typical of the Library Cave's silk banners.
"It is a beautiful work dating from around 1101-25," she adds.
"It is believed to be painted by Emperor Huizong - a terrible leader but a great artist and connoisseur.
In 1900 Taoist priest Wang Yuanlu, acting as caretaker at the site, stumbled upon a secret cavern while attempting conservation work.
They tell the story not just of people and politics but also of art." Many of the paintings were commissioned by families for Buddhist funeral rituals, to earn themselves merit and secure the rebirth of their loved ones."Art students wanted to find what traditions had been lost.At Dunhuang the murals and statues were still there, but because the silk paintings were not, they were missing out." The caverns were made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.This article explores the part Shinto has played in Japanese life and culture throughout the country's history, and its shared its spiritual, cultural, and political roles with Buddhism and Confucianism.In a secret cave on China's ancient Silk Road, one of the world's most incredible collections of art lay locked away in darkness for 900 years."As a scholar, I believe they were both brilliant archaeologists, and genuinely believed in the scholarly importance of what they were doing for Chinese history."But as a Chinese, I feel it is China's loss if we don't provide the opportunity for this material to be studied and researched.They were woven on looms of similar size, with each section of material around 56cm wide.They had a looped border to be hung from a bamboo rod.The cave is one of the 500 surviving caverns at the Mogao Caves, on the edge of the Gobi desert, at Dunhuang in western China.Their wonders are on show in London next week as part of the V&A's new Masterpieces of Chinese Painting exhibition.