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Butterfly painter to pass down skills

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2014-02-10

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Butterfly painter to pass down skills

The young Jiang falls in love with the creatures when he begins studying how to draw them. [Photos from pingtan.gov.cn ]

Despite having drawn butterflies for decades, Jiang Yuan's passion for the colorful insect has not faded.

The display cabinet of the Fuzhou-based painter is filled with butterfly specimens, and the wall of his study dotted with paintings vividly depicting their dynamic movements.

In an interview with the Pingtan Times, Jiang shared his story of how he became a butterfly enthusiast.

The young Jiang fell in love with the creatures when he began studying how to draw them. To polish his painting skills, Jiang decided to collect butterfly specimens. He tried catching butterflies by himself, later on trading his paintings for specimens from other collectors.

Jiang said the process helped him learn about and observe a wide variety of butterflies.

Jiang's butterfly painting skills grew quickly as the years went by. His works were described as life-like and extravagant.

More importantly, Jiang revived a vanished painting style known as "Tengwang Butterfly Painting."

The painting style originated in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) when Li Yuanying, 22nd son of Emperor Gaozu, became popular for his paintings of butterflies using precious minerals as pigments. Li was conferred the title of Tengwang (Prince of Teng) by his father, and his ostentatious painting style was later dubbed "Tengwang Butterfly Painting."

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