Out of the shadows

By Zhao Xu ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-04-16 09:37:51

Out of the shadows

The main hall is the only structure that remains from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The temple also features four ancillary halls as well as a bell and drum tower and several side rooms.[Photo by Feng Yongbin/China Daily]

Beams Of Light Reveal Astonishing Detail In Masterfully Crafted Frescoes In A Buddhist Temple

In 1933 the German photographer Hedda Morrison went to a western suburb of Beijing, where she discovered what she would call the city's most interesting temple. With a Rolleiflex twin lens camera and a heart captivated by the beauty of oriental art, she recorded in black and white the stunning frescoes on the walls of the temple's main hall.

However, the way Morrison went about her work, which she wrote about in detail, is likely to fascinate the modern reader almost as much as her pictures. Since the frescoes remained in the shadows, she had to remove some of the roof tiles to allow in sufficient light. A photographer with her tried to blow magnesia powder onto blazing paraldehyde to illuminate what can only be called a darkroom. But those efforts went unrewarded, filming being abandoned when Morrison was accidentally burned.

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