LANZHOU, April 26 (Xinhua) -- A new director has been appointed for the Dunhuang Academy of China, which manages the Buddhist caves of the Mogao Grottoes, a site on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Zhao Shengliang, who was a former deputy director, has replaced Wang Xudong as the head of the academy. Wang has been given a new post as the curator of the Palace Museum in Beijing.
Zhao started working in the Mogao Grottoes in 1984. He is an expert on art history and Dunhuangology, or the studies of Dunhuang Caves.
The Mogao Grottoes are home to collections of Buddhist artwork -- more than 2,000 colored sculptures and 45,000 square meters of murals -- in 735 caves carved along a cliff by ancient worshippers.
It was first constructed in 366 A.D. For more than 1,000 years, it was a popular marketplace, travelers' stop, and a religious shrine on the ancient Silk Road.
The grottoes were placed under the management of the academy in 1944. Before Zhao, the Dunhuang Academy only had four curators in the past 75 years.
The Dunhuang Academy has become a global role model in heritage conservation and international cooperation. Using its expertise and technology in preserving ancient murals, the academy has helped repaired murals in other parts of China, including Xinjiang and Tibet.
It receives over 1.7 million tourists every year.