Dunhuang Frescoes are the most important composing part of the grotto art of Dunhuang, Gansu Province, China. Dunhuang Grottoes include the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang, the Western Thousand Buddha Caves and the Yulin Grottoes in Anxi County, with a total of 552 grottoes. Over 50 thousand square meters of frescoes originated in past dynasties make them a grotto cluster boasting frescoes in largest quantity both in China and all over the world. By the content depicted, these frescoes are divided into Buddha statue paintings, sutra converted paintings, narrative paintings and donor portraits, etc..
The Dunhuang Frescoes are honored as the Art Treasury for their large scale, exquisite craftsmanship as well as extreme richness and diversity in content. Like other religious art, they portray god images and movements, relations between gods as well as relations between gods and human beings in ways that convey good wishes and placate souls of believers. Accordingly, the frescoes have different characteristics in style from those a secular painting has.
The Silk Road, also known as Silu in Chinese pinyin, refers to the land passageway opened up by Zhang Qian, an imperial envoy who was dispatched for a diplomatic mission to the Western Regions during the Western Han Dynasty. The Road starts from Chang’an (today’s Xi’an) and reaches the Central and West Asia via Gansu and Xinjiang, connecting Mediterranean countries. It gains the name because silk products have made the greatest impact among the goods transported westward. The Silk Road is of great significance in the world history for its roles as the Eurasia communicating artery and the bridge for the intersection of Chinese, Indian and Greek cultures. The opening up of the Road has effectively promoted the economic and cultural exchange between eastern and western countries and has played a positive part in contributing to the prosperity of the Han Dynasty. So far, the Silk Road has remained a major gateway for communication between China and western countries.
Dunhuang was an important town on the Silk Road at that time. The Silk Road available then has provided routes for spreading Buddhism and made it possible to have gathered wealth at Dunhuang, carved the Dunhuang grottoes, produced the frescoes in the grottoes, and presented such brilliant Dunhuang culture.
By studying the painting techniques of predecessors, Li Jun, vice chairman of the Dunhuang Artists Association and a professional painter, has created the Dunhuang on Cloth in such an artistic expression form that demonstrates Dunhuang culture via fabric processing, which plays an active role in contributing to the contemporary art creation, the research into traditional art and culture, and the inheritance of Dunhuang art and culture.
Vice chairman and secretary general of the Dunhuang Artists Association
Member of the Artists Association of Gansu Province
In his early years, Mr. Li Jun followed multiple painter mentors including Fan Xinggang, professor of the Dunhuang Research Institute and a mural expert with strength and power, and Li Zhenfu, director of the Arts Department of the Dunhuang Research Institute. Nurtured by the great and profound grotto culture and art, through exploration and research, he has created the Dunhuang on Cloth——a mural form of taking the cloth as carrier to reproduce the vicissitudes and magnificent beauty of Dunhuang over the years and combine its mottled and fashion elements, which helps to develop his own unique style. While studying previous painting techniques, he constantly attempted to use new expression forms by combining diversified painting styles such as modern approaches applied in fine-brush with heavy color and techniques employed in western oil paintings. Besides, he made bold use of cloth as the carrier to reconstruct the aged images of Dunhuang grottoes and achieve the textural effect of mottled primitive simplicity in a more appropriate and realistic manner. Featured by smooth, powerful lines and bold use of rich colors, his works demonstrates the grandness and profundity of the ancient Dunhuang in every detail.