Thursday, March 26, 2009

Song Dynasty Frescoed Tomb found in Shaanxi Province China

Frescoes are one of my favorite art forms so I was naturally excited to see this article about the discovery of a frescoed Song dynasty tomb in China's Shaanxi province. I am most familiar with Roman frescoes and did not realize the fresco art form was so prevalent in ancient Chinese cultures as well.

"Tomb number M218, where the painting was discovered, is made of brick, and is nearly seven and half meters underground. A tunnel connects it with the outside world. Without any funerary objects found at the site, the fresco is the most significant discovery. Painted directly on the inner wall of the tomb, this fine fresco covers a wide range of topics and includes nearly 40 figures. The skeletons of the tomb's owners are also well preserved, as are the beds they lie on." - CCTV International.
The article included a short video with images of several of the paintings.

I found this website about frescoes in Chinese art that was very interesting. Apparently, Chinese frescoes are thought to date back to the Stone Age although the frescos in the tomb of Prince Liang of the Western Han Dynasty are the earliest extant frescos in China.

"During the Wei and Jin Dynasties, the art of painting experienced the greatest prosperity in China's history of painting. The frescoed brick tombs of the Wei and Jin dynasties in the Jiayu Pass typically represent the paintings of these periods. In the Sui and Tang Dynasties, frescos were divided into grotto frescos, temple frescos, palace frescos, burial chamber frescos, and so on. The frescos had reached a great height either in terms of the configurations of the characters, styles and techniques, or color application, as represented by Dunhuang frescos and Kezier grotto frescos."