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Inspired by an ancient muse

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2019-11-12 08:48
Outfits and accessories designed by Xiong Ying feature iconic elements from the ancient murals and statues of Dunhuang. The collection was presented in Paris in September 2018.[Photo provided to China Daily]

She adds that her exploration of Dunhuang will never end, since the site provides her with infinite inspiration for imagination and creativity.

Xiao Qiang (pseudonym) is one of 50 designers working at Xiong's fashion brand. In 2017, the 30-year-old traveled to Dunhuang with Xiong to seek inspiration.

His first impressions of Dunhuang were of the paintings of Zhang Daqian, an artist who traveled to the cave complex to study Buddhist murals in the 1940s.

"I was about 13 years old when I first saw his paintings in my school textbook. The murals conveyed the site's power and history," says Xiao Qiang, who joined Xiong's company in 2012.

One of the most impressive paintings Xiao Qiang saw in Dunhuang was the mural, Deer King Jataka, in Cave 257, from the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534). It shows influences from India and Central Asia in terms of content and technique.

An image of Buddhist nirvana, which features an 18-meter-long reclining Buddha in Cave 158, inspired one of Xiao Qiang's designs, where he combined it with elements of traditional Chinese ink paintings.

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