The Buddhist cave temples of Mogao, near the oasis city of Dunhuang in northwestern China (now Gansu province) preserve a wealth of information on life along the Silk Road, artistic practice in medieval China, and, of course, on Buddhism. Dunhuang lay on the eastern end of the Silk Road; to its west was the trecherous Taklamakan Desert, with routes both to the north, abutting the Tian Shan mountain range, and to the south, near the Kunlun mountains.