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Career dedicated to sharing glory of caves

By Lin Qi | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-05-24 07:25
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A 93-year-old recalls spending her childhood with her father protecting the Mogao grottoes to highlight their legacy with the world, Lin Qi reports.

Recalling her bittersweet experiences during her teen years in Dunhuang, Gansu province, 93-year-old Chang Shana can't help but smile while remembering those days. She was 12 when she arrived in Dunhuang in the 1940s. Her father, Chang Shuhong (1904-94), the founding director of the Dunhuang Academy, committed his life to the protection and conservation of the caves and the art inside.

The young girl endured harsh living conditions in the desert while working with her father to copy the murals and Buddhist statues in the Mogao Caves, and forged a lifelong love of Dunhuang that has lasted for several decades until now, through her paintings and design.

Artist Chang Shana's works on display at a touring exhibition, Everlasting Beauty of Dunhuang, in Beijing, including Bougainvillea and Butterflies. CHINA DAILY

"Dunhuang is my hometown. Father often said, 'Shana, don't forget you are from Dunhuang'."

In 2014, Chang Shana, a prominent designer and scholar of Dunhuang art, initiated a touring exhibition titled Everlasting Beauty of Dunhuang. Since premiering at Beijing's Today Art Museum, the show of works, created by her and her father that are inspired by Dunhuang's immense artistic trove, has since traveled around the country, raising awareness of the importance of protecting Dunhuang's legacy.

It recently returned to the capital, with its latest installment running at the Chinese Traditional Culture Museum until Oct 27.

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