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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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Artist Chang Shana's works on display at a touring exhibition, Everlasting Beauty of Dunhuang, in Beijing, including The Guardian King of the South. CHINA DAILY

Design for China

At 17, she went to study art and museology in Boston, the United States, for two years. She returned at the end of 1950 to assist her father in staging an exhibition of Dunhuang art at the Palace Museum, where their copies of murals and statues were also displayed.

The works caught the attention of noted architects and scholars Liang Sicheng and Lin Huiyin.

Touched by Chang Shana's gift and devotion to Dunhuang, Lin helped her land a job as an assistant lecturer at the architecture department of Tsinghua University.

Lin hoped to introduce the young girl to the fields of design and education, where she would develop new ways to keep alive the heritage of Dunhuang and other traditional art.

Lin was one of the key influences on Chang Shana, who inspired her to integrate Dunhuang elements into many aspects of life. Lin took her to factories that made enamelware and porcelain to get inspiration about new ways to give traditional arts and crafts a modern uplift.

"Lin said you need to make people feel, and live with, the beauty of tradition," Chang Shana says.

Chang Shana later taught at the Central Academy of Fine Arts and the Central Academy of Arts and Design, now the Academy of Arts and Design of Tsinghua University.

As a designer and design educator, she participated in several national projects in which she incorporated the motifs and patterns from the murals, architecture and Buddhist caves that enriched her teen years.

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