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Dunhuang heritage still alive in new age

时间:2015-09-17  作者:  来源:china daily

 As a world-renowned sacred Buddhist site, there is almost too much to explore in the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, Gansu province. The exquisite sculptures and murals in its hundreds of caves make it a grand art gallery and a miracle of history.

In addition to preserving the grottoes there is still much to do such as passing down the ancient cultural heritage and keeping it alive in the modern age. Two representative inheritors have shared their efforts in carrying forward the traditions.

Modernizing the traditional way of making sculptures

Du Yongwei is a local sculptor creating Dunhuang colored sculptures. He is one of a few left who still use the traditional methods inherited from ancestors.

The traditional manner means first using red willow from the Gobi desert to make a frame, filled with needlegrass and reed. This is then molded with Dengban soil. All materials are sourced locally and the sculptures produced can last for more than 1,000 years, like the sculptures in the Mogao Grottoes. The technique was listed as a provincial intangible cultural heritage of Gansu province in 2008.

Du is now considering how to use traditional techniques to create new-style sculptures which can combine the essence of the old with modern beauty.

He tries using metal and soil to create sculptures such as flying Apsaras and other characters which are popular.

He is also teaching art students the traditional technique and invites them to his workshop for hands-on experience. As there are only a few artists still using the traditional technique, he is worried, saying: "I hope the traditional techniques can keep being handed down and I'm making my best efforts for that".

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