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Langdon Warner (1881–1955) was an American art historian and Harvard Professor. He was one of the models for Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones. As an explorer/agent at the turn of the 20th century he studied the Silk Road. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1927.
Langdon Warner's work in China is the subject of much controversy among art historians. On the one side, there are those who say that he pillaged certain sites in Asia of its art work; others, including Warner himself, viewed his work as a heroic act of preserving valuable art for posterity. The views of the Chinese government towards Warner have varied as intensively as the government itself over the last century. As of this writing, the position is that Warner was a pillager.
Warner arrived at the Mogao Caves in Tun-huang in January 1924 and, armed with a special chemical solution for detaching wall-paintings, he removed twenty-six Tang dynasty masterpieces from caves 335, 321, 323 & 320. Warner first applied the chemical solution (strong glue) to the painting on the cave wall. He then place a cloth against it. The cloth is then pulled away from the fresco and then he applied plaster of Paris on the back of the painting and transfer the painting to the plaster surface. Warner had found evidence that the caves were the object of vandalism by Russian soldiers and reached an agreement with the local people to purchase the frescoes and remove them in order to save them for posterity. Unfortunately, the removal process resulted in some damage to the site itself. Luckily, frescoes he framed with glue but was unable to remove are still on display in caves today. The murals he removed are held at the Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Today the caves in Dunhuang are favored as tourist stops to showcase the Chinese view that the Americans pillaged their heritage. Certain members of the family have requested that the Museum return the pieces to Dunhuang. The Museum's position is that since they have a bill of sale indicating that Warner legitimately purchased the artwork they have no obligation to return them. The Warner family acknowledges both points of view on the matter and seeks resolution.
World War II 
He is mistakenly given credit for advising against firebombing and the use of the atomic bomb on Kyoto, Nara and other ancient cities to protect cultural heritage of Japan. There are monuments erected in Kyoto, Hōryū-ji (outside the western edge of Hōryū-ji temple), and Kamakura (outside Kamakura JR Station) in his honor for this reason. Once travelled Gobi Desert while in search of artifacts. He wrote extensively, including The Enduring Art of Japan.
- The Long Old Road in China (1926)
- The Craft of the Japanese Sculptor (1936)
- Buddhist Wall-Paintings: A Study of a Ninth-Century Grotto at Wan Fo Hsia (1938)
- The Enduring Art of Japan (1952)
- Japanese Sculpture of the Tempyo Period: Masterpieces of the Eighth Century (1959)
- "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter W". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- Peter Hopkirk: Foreign Devils on the Silk Road. Amherst : University of Massachusetts Press, 1984, c1980
- Sanchita Balachandran: Object Lessons: The Politics of Preservation and Museum Building in Western China in the Early Twentieth Century. International Journal of Cultural Property (2007), 14 : 1-32 Cambridge University Press
- Otis Cary (1975), Mr. Stimson's `Pet City': the Sparing of Kyoto, 1945
- Theodore Robert Bowie (ed.): Langdon Warner Through His Letters. Bloomington : Indiana U. P., 1966