Dunhuang’s artistic heritage is the result of the collective creative labor of the ancient Chinese people, spanning nearly a thousand years from the Wei and Jin dynasties (c. 4th century AD) to its gradual decline during the Song dynasty (c. 11th century AD).
Through the three forms of plastic arts: architecture, sculpture, and painting, they are interrelated and reflect each other.
Pattern art, on the other hand, is a kind of decorative art between the three, with a harmonious and strong artistic style.
Let’s follow the footsteps of Modern Hanfu and learn about the colors and patterns of Dunhuang murals and how they are used in Hanfu.
Introduction of Dunhuang Murals
Dunhuang murals refer to the paintings on the inner walls of the Dunhuang Caves in China, a world cultural heritage and a treasure of human culture and art.
Dunhuang murals are a major part of Dunhuang art, and are large in scale, exquisite in skill, and colorful in content.
Like other religious art, it is an art that depicts images of gods, their havoc, their relationship with each other, and their relationship with people in order to support their good intentions and soothe their hearts. Therefore, it has a style that is clearly distinct from secular painting.
But art always comes from life, and most of the forms of Dunhuang murals come from a common artistic language and expressive techniques, with a common national style.
Dunhuang murals are not only a treasure trove of figure painting over the millennia, they are also a valuable historical resource for reference and support in the study of social history, and have important historical and artistic value.
Dunhuang Color Schemes and Patterns
Ancient murals were basically painted with mineral and plant pigments.
The concept of color in Dunhuang murals is influenced by the traditional Chinese view of color in painting, and the “five-color system” is evident in Dunhuang murals.
“Five-color system” are white, green, black, red and yellow, which correspond to the five elements of Chinese culture: gold, wood, water, fire and earth.
The Dunhuang murals are colorful and gorgeous, but the color palette is not sharp.
In fact, each cave murals, its brilliant colors behind the main color unity of the picture, give full play to the charm of complementary color contrast, so that the color of the mural between the full rhythmic beauty, no noise feeling.
This also shows that the use of color in Dunhuang’s murals is bright but not vulgar, and gives people a sense of solemnity.
Dunhuang motifs are found in Zao Jin (藻井, Caisson), Kan Mei (龛楣, Tympanum, costumes, mural trim and floor tiles, and include geometric, botanical, animal, scenic and character motifs.
Zao Jin is usually located above the interior and is umbrella-shaped, supported by a thin arch, symbolizing the sublimity of the heavens, and is generally painted with colorful paintings and reliefs.
Before the emergence of landscape painting, “Hua Shu (花树, flowering trees)” were mostly found in rock paintings, pottery, tomb murals, portrait stones, and portrait bricks, and the images and symbolic meanings of “Hua Shu” varied from period to period in different works.
With the transition from primitive society to feudal society, the image of “Hua Shu” that sprouted from people’s labor or from totem worship also began to gradually change to the function of aesthetic decoration.
The Dunhuang color scheme in modern hanfu
Dunhuang colors are also very common in modern hanfu, let’s take a look!
These hanfu basically use the Dunhuang color scheme, which is contrasting, bright and bold, and full of flavor.
Wearing such a hanfu, is like walking through thousands of years of time, across millions of miles of distance, into the mysterious and unpredictable Dunhuang murals.
The Dunhuang Caves have been in existence for thousands of years and have suffered varying degrees of damage to their cliffs, murals and sculptures due to natural forces and human activity over time.
But the bright, special color scheme of Dunhuang is forever etched in our hearts and minds.
The growing use of Dunhuang colors in modern clothing is also a sign of people’s love for Dunhuang culture and its vitality.
In the future, we can try to apply the Dunhuang color scheme more to home decoration, architectural design and other aspects, so that Dunhuang color scheme and Dunhuang culture can be more integrated into people’s daily life, and truly realize the creative transformation and innovative development of culture.
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