Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / Culture / Art

Career dedicated to sharing glory of caves

By Lin Qi | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-05-24 07:25
Share - WeChat
Artist Chang Shana's works on display at a touring exhibition, Everlasting Beauty of Dunhuang, in Beijing, including Woman in Xinjiang. CHINA DAILY

She was impressed by the harsh natural environment of the desert there — often harassed by sands and gales. Material comforts were scarce. This was perhaps ironic, considering Dunhuang's legacy as an oasis of art and cultural exchanges along the ancient Silk Road.

She says she'll never forget the first meal she had in Dunhuang: a bowl of noodles with salt and vinegar.

"I remember I then asked, 'How come there is no meat or vegetables?' And, Dad, looking a bit embarrassed, said: 'It's late. There will be mutton tomorrow.' I later realized that was unlikely because there was nothing out there," she recalls.

"To make our life better, my father tried to plant flowers and grow vegetables. He worked really hard."

Yet, Dunhuang did nurture the little girl, in a different way. "The moment I entered the caves, I was dazzled. The caves had no doors and faced east to allow the sunlight in. I had never seen so many murals and statues, bright in color and all over the grottoes," she says.

She then followed in the footsteps of her father and other artists working in the caves. She followed their instructions to also copy the beautiful wall paintings and figurines from different periods of time.

Her daily routine also included practicing calligraphy, learning French, studying Chinese and taking lessons in Chinese and Western art history, taught by artists who worked with her father researching Dunhuang.

"There, I completed the first stage of education in my art career, although without a diploma," Chang Shana says.

Several large copies of jingbian, or sutra depictions, on the walls from the 1940s are on show to offer a glimpse of the solid training she received and the understanding of Dunhuang she accumulated, says her son, Cui Donghui, who's deputy director of the School of Architecture of the Central Academy of Fine Arts.

"The basic skills she grasped while copying allowed her to understand the compositions and the relations among the figures in the murals," Cui says.

|<< Previous 1 2 3 4 5 Next   >>|
Most Popular
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349