In the yellow sandy desert of Northwestern China, an accidental discovery of ancient ruins amazed the entire world. This discovery is Dunhuang, and a Chinese girl born in Lyon, France, is referred to as the“flower of Dunhuang”. So, what’s the story behind this?
One day in1936 while studying abroad in France, a young man named Shuhong Chang found a book about Dunhuang at an old bookstall by the Seine. This was an encounter arranged by fate; six years later, in spite of the far distance and the war, Shuhong brought his12-year-old daughter, Shana Chang, to the broken city of Dunhuang.
Shuhong Chang’s arrival ended the westerner’s exploration, while at the same time launched the Chinese research and protection of Dunhuang. His arrival also tied Shana Chang’s life and fate to this place. Under her father’s guidance, she crawled through all its caves, and traced through all its mesmerizing murals.
In1948, Shana traveled to the United States to study at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. After she returned to China, she worked in arts and crafts design, took part in designing the10 Great Buildings of Beijing, and became the dean of the Central Academy of Art & Design. Throughout her entire life, Dunhuang was her label, and her source of art. The nourishment of Dunhuang art grew, blossomed and flourished along with her art.
Although Shana is over eighty years old today, she continues to exert herself to spread Dunhuang art. In the last two years, she left her footprints in Beijing, Shenzhen, Kaohsiung, Istanbul, St. Petersburg and many more. She truly believes that she inherited the spirit of Dunhuang, and this was a faith that remained unchanged throughout her life as an artist.
Xianlin Ji once said that there are only four highly influential cultures in the world that have long historical standings, vast territories, and their own systems: the Chinese culture, Indian culture, Greek culture and Islamic culture. Furthermore, there is only one place where these cultures merge together, and that place is Dunhuang.
Dunhuang successfully recorded more than a millennium of glorious human civilization. In the21st century, it will continue to witness human civilization as it ushers into a new dawn…