Fan Jinshi

Our recent fascination with Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance led us to the Explorer’s Podcast which you can find out about at

This morning it was time to take a break from the polar regions and contemplate a different time and place by listening to the podcast about Fan Junshi — a Chinese scholar who has spent more than fifty years studying the caves of the Dunhuang region of western China. These were excavated by Buddhist monks over many centuries until the site was abandoned in the 1300s — but not without leaving them filled with manuscripts, maps, murals, statues and installations — and other stuff to keep scholars busy and excited for a long, long time.

What excites us most is the Dunhuang Star Atlas from around 700AD. We’re pasting in one image here, but do go to to see more:

And just this morning, we’d never heard of any of this!!


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