A classic of mountainous scenes

By Lin Qi | China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-10 07:50
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Sacred Mountains, painting from Li Bo'an's Out of Bayan Har series, is among Li's works on show at the eponymous exhibition at the Tsinghua University Art Museum. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Li Bo'an might not be a household name in China, but his artistic legacy is nothing short of epic in its scale and beauty, Lin Qi reports.

In 1998, when Li Bo'an died at age 54, he was close to completing the 10th and final painting of an ambitious series of landscapes, depicting both the breathtaking views of western China and the dynamic lives of ethnic Tibetans.

Li, a self-taught painter and senior editor of Henan People's Fine Arts Publishing House, in Zhengzhou, Henan province, had been working on the project for a decade. He had traveled three times to the provinces of Qinghai and Gansu, visiting Tibetan communities to sketch and painstakingly collect materials for the series.

The collection, titled Out of Bayan Har, measures a total length of 124 meters, revealing not only a panoramic of the Bayan Har Mountains but also the rich history and culture of the Tibetans who live there. Li also wanted to hail the vibrancy of Chinese history and the spirit of its people. He had planned four other similar series of long-scroll paintings, each tracing the history of the Hui, Mongolian, Manchu and Han ethnic groups. Together with Out of Bayan Har, they would have formed a national epic.

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