Legends of the Silk Road

Murals on gourds by Ma Jianghong

By Soyim

Soyim

Frescos of the Northern Wei Period in Mogao Caves, Dunhuang by Ma JianghongSoyim

Ma Jianghong

Engaged in exploration and practice of murals on gourds for many years, Ma Jianghong has managed to reproduce the thousand-year-old culture of Chinese murals in a distinctive manner with works displaying murals in caves along the ancient Silk Road on the basis of integration between modern carving and sculpting techniques and artistic elements characteristic of the unique culture in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Vajravārāhī by Ma JianghongSoyim

Ma Jianghong was captivated by the murals during her trip to Dunhuang Grottoes when she was a freshman in college, and was also amazed by the Kizil murals later.

Maitreya by Ma JianghongSoyim

The inspiration of “how about carving the lost and existing murals on the big gourds unique to Xinjiang” came when she ran into an old man engraving folk art and daily life scene on big gourds in Kashgar Bazaar.

Shakyamuni by Ma JianghongSoyim

Thang-ga of Maitreya by Ma JianghongSoyim

Based on the application of multiple techniques including etching, jade carving, wood carving, etc., as well as her own unique understanding of murals in the Thousand-Buddha Caves of Kizil and the Dunhuang Grottoes, Ma Jianghong has recreated the time-honored culture of murals.

Gandharva worshipping Buddha with Family by Ma JianghongSoyim

This culture has been displayed with renewed artistic charm in her artworks centering on the Buddhist theme, further discovering and popularizing the Buddhist culture of Xiyu.

Frescos based on Buddha-carita-kāvya Sūtra in No. 20 Cave of Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves Frescos based on Buddha-carita-kāvya Sūtra in No. 20 Cave of Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves by Ma JianghongSoyim

In the past three decades, Ma Jianghong has been expressing the art of murals on the medium of gourds, giving free play to her artistic talents based on the integration of the two forms.

Samantabhadra in No. 3 Cave of Yulin Grottoes Samantabhadra in No. 3 Cave of Yulin Grottoes by Ma JianghongSoyim

Samantabhadra in No. 3 Cave of Yulin Grottoes DetailsSoyim

With finishing each piece of such murals on gourds, the artist presents the viewers an amazingly fantastic fresco based on her multi-layer illustration and ingenious combination of multiple carving techniques.

Thang-ga of Jambhala Thang-ga of Jambhala by Ma JianghongSoyim

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