Painting the past

Updated: 2014-01-22 09:26

By Ma Lie and Lu Hongyan (China Daily)

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Painting the past

Jin Weidong prepares pigments for the murals.

"I like mural art very much and I want to reproduce the murals because many of the pictures were damaged by natural and anthropogenic factors. I hope my reproduction of the Dunhuang murals can let people see the former glory of the ancient art," Yang says.

It was during that time that Yang met her future husband Jin, a part-time student at Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts where Yang's father worked as a visiting professor of murals. In 1994, Jin visited Yang's father's art studio. He was taken by Yang's concentration and devotion to her mural painting in a quiet corner of the studio.

In the fall of 1994, Jin accompanied Yang on her annual Dunhuang mural study trip, which she had always taken alone.

The two fell in love and Jin joined Yang in studying the Dunhuang murals.

In 1995, just one month after Yang and Jin were married, Yang went to Beijing to study for a masters degree in mural painting at the Art Academy of the People's Liberation Army.

In the summer of 1997, Yang's family was given five residential apartments as compensation after their old house was demolished for urban construction. Yang Dongmiao was given two of the five apartments.

Then Yang made two surprising decisions. One was abandoning her study in Beijing to return to Xi'an, another was to sell her two apartments for 450,000 yuan ($74,484) to invest in the reproduction of the Dunhuang frescoes.