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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. It held a treasure trove of 50,000 Buddhist paintings and manuscripts dating back to the 5th Century. Their wonders go on show in London next week as part of the V&A's new Masterpieces of Chinese Painting exhibition.

The Secret Art of the Silk Road

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. It held a treasure trove of 50,000 Buddhist paintings and manuscripts dating back to the 5th Century. Their wonders go on show in London next week as part of the V&A's new Masterpieces of Chinese Painting exhibition.

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TORRE DE BELÉM (1520), Belém, Lisbon, Portugal - UNESCO World Heritage Site. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bel%C3%A9m_Tower | Photo: © 2011 Santiago Muñoz @ 500px. http://500px.com/photo/4700056

TORRE DE BELÉM (1520), Belém, Lisbon, Portugal - UNESCO World Heritage Site. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bel%C3%A9m_Tower | Photo: © 2011 Santiago Muñoz @ 500px. http://500px.com/photo/4700056

The Mogao Caves or Mogao Grottoes , also known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas , form a system of 492 temples 25 km (16 mi) southeast of the center of Dunhuang, an oasis strategically located at a religious and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road, in Gansu province, China.

The Mogao Caves or Mogao Grottoes , also known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas , form a system of 492 temples 25 km (16 mi) southeast of the center of Dunhuang, an oasis strategically located at a religious and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road, in Gansu province, China.

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