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Baisha Mural

Lijiang Mural could be seen in many villages and small towns around the Lijiang Old City, such as in the Baisha, Dayan, Shuhe, Yangxi and Xuesong towns. However, most of the collections are well preserved in Baisha Town. Baisha Mural is the representative of the Lijiang Mural.
Baisha Ancient Town is located 11 kilometers north away from the Lijiang City. The Baisha Murals are well preserved and displayed in Dabaoji Palace, Colored Glaze Temple and Dading Pavilion. They were painted in Ming and the early Qing dynasty, which has lasted for about 300 years. In the early Ming dynasty, Naxi People has submitted to the authority of the Ming Dynasty. Their head which has got a clan name as Mu granted by the Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang ordered to build many temples and painted delicate murals to introduce the advanced culture and craftsmanship of the central plain.
At this period in Lijiang, it was an era of rapid economic development, mutual acculturation of multinational culture, and the growth of religions. Accordingly, Lijiang Mural was an artistic representation of this cooperation, communication and progress. The authors of these mural paintings had come from different nations, including the local Naxi Dongba painters; the Taoist painter Zhang from the Central Plain; Tibetan Lama artist Guchang; Han painters Ma Xiaoxian and Li Zeng; and many other artists who were unknown to the public. Hence, these mural paintings are an artistic representation of the different religious cultures such as Buddhism, Lamaism, Daoism and the Naxi Dongba religion. It is the unique feature of the Lijiang Mural. While in the Dabaoji Palace, one could see about 12 frescos with 167 portraits in a content of Buddhism, Taoism, Lamaism and Naxi Religion. It manifests the freedom of religious belief and amalgamation of different religion and cultures in Ming dynasty and also represents the development, prosperous and harmonious of a stable society.
Lijiang Mural is quite different from other frescos. Each painting includes at least one hundred portraits, but perspective is used very well, and the close, middle and establishing images are clear. The various lifelike portraits are not only Buddhas but also ordinary people such as bureaucrats, criminals, tourists and executioners. Many of the scenes and subject matters are drawn from daily life-people are shown fishing, riding horses, weaving, dancing and casting iron. The painters used different methods of portrayal within the different elements of the fresco, such as flesh, garments, jewelry, weapons and many other components. The style of these true-life frescos is rural and unconstrained; the colors are strong and have intense contrast but are also unified. The Lijiang Mural fully demonstrates the superb artistic skills, outstanding creativity and rich imaginations of these excellent craftsmen. The vivid and exact figures, flowing lines, well-defined colors and powerful effects of the exquisite details make the Lijiang Mural not only the rare treasure of art, but also forceful proof of national solidarity and an important source of information for research on national religions, arts, and history.

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