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Painting: A replica of the Yongle Palace mural "Jade Lady"
The most wonderful Chinese murals of the Yuan Dynasty are located in the Yongle Palace in Shanxi Province. The Yongle Palace was originally located in the town of Yongle, Yongji County. The palace was burned down and restored during the Yuan Dynasty. The reconstruction took more than thirty years. In 1959, because of the construction of the Sanmen Gorge Reservoir, the Yongle Palace was moved to North Longquan Village, Ruicheng County. Now there are four halls in the Yongle Palace. Beautiful murals can be found in all four halls. For example, in the Three Taoists Hall, the picture of Chaoyuan shows a scene of all deities calling on the Three Taoists. In this painting, about two hundred and eighty deities are portrayed and each one is over two meters tall. The composition of the picture is magnificent. The characters are precisely drawn with individual features and characteristics. The grandeur of the Three Taoists, valor of the celestial generals, elegance of the Jade Lady, and the heavenly temperament of the Taoist immortal are all vividly and beautifully displayed, showing different gestures and expressions. The style of Yongle Palace murals has influenced Chinese murals and the development of figurative paintings in the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
The picture above is Ms. Zhang Cuiying’s copy of the Jade Lady from the Yongle Palace mural. The Jade Lady’s skin is white and delicate and her face is as beautiful as the full moon. She is graceful and elegant and has a lovely nose, big earlobes, slender eyebrows and beautiful eyes. Her dignified and delicate features reflect the aesthetic concepts of the Tao School. The so-called Golden Boy and Jade Lady are apprentices and assistants of the Taoist Immortal. Jade Lady should be ‘having dignified features but ancient and pure manner.’ One who is described as ‘jade’, is as pure as jade, and as faithful as jade.
In terms of painting techniques, Zhang Cuiying used a method of outlining lines and filling in colors. The lines were vigorous and linked up nicely. The lines on clothes are so wonderful, that they can be described as Cao clothes coming out of water. Mineral paints are used, including stone blue and vermilion. The colors are evenly, tidily, and flowerily presented. The decorative effect is successfully achieved.
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