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What is the historical value of Dunhuang frescoes? The history of Dunhuang art and Chinese culture!

Today, the interesting history editor brings you Dunhuang art and Chinese culture. I hope it can help you.

First, talk about Dunhuang

Speaking of Dunhuang, if you don't talk about Mogao Grottoes , it is always incredible. Mogao Grottoes are to Dunhuang, just like Chang'an to the Tang Dynasty . Although not all, they are better than all. If our eyes linger on those murals in Mogao Grottoes of Dunhuang, it will inevitably shock the moving of these Dunhuang arts. It can be said that its artistic appeal is not accidental, but has a deep era background and cultural connection. If we observe the characteristics of the murals of the Mogao Grottoes in detail, it is not difficult to find that Mogao Grottoes, which are far away from the Hexi Corridor , have always been inextricably linked with Chinese culture, and have blossomed the amazing Buddhist flower of the world. So today I want to talk with you about the murals of the Mogao Grottoes and the fusion of Chinese and Buddhist cultures reflected behind it.

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Dunhuang Murals

Murals in Mogao Grottoes: Fusion of Chinese Culture and Buddhist Culture

The word Dunhuang naturally seems to have a special meaning. When people talk about Mogao Grottoes, they always think of his mysterious colors and exotic style. However, if we look at the frescoes at the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, we find that although the original Dunhuang Hexi Corridor is thousands of miles away, it shows the Chinese civilization everywhere. Of course, the more culturally significant nature is the numerous Buddhist portraits in the Mogao Grottoes. However, if we take a closer look at murals such as "Map of the Demon's Enlightenment" and "Picture of the Meat Rescue the Pig", we will find that the Chinese civilization as the host and the Buddhist culture as a foreigner are so ingenious:

The Understanding of the Word "Emotion" in Buddhist Murals: Where the Love Comes

In history, the understanding of the word "emotion" in art is often the first thing many people think of is the emotion in poetry. This also reflects that the Chinese civilization began to pay attention to the spiritual experience of people at an early age, such as the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period. During the period, Zhuangzi was ruthless on the surface, but fiery on the inside. This kind of understanding of emotion and art reached a comprehensive conclusion in the Western Jin Dynasty. For example, Lu Ji put forward "poetry and affection and exquisiteness" in "Wen Fu". He believed that poetry was born of emotion. The concept also profoundly affected the murals in Mogao Grottoes.

It can be said that the deepest and deepest emotion is the soul of the frescoes of Mogao Grottoes. This is also when we later observe the murals of the Mogao Grottoes, we always vaguely feel that the emotions in the painting do not seem far away from us. In the murals of Dunhuang, especially during the turbulent period of 460 AD to 500 AD, when Dunhuang faced the soft and aggressive aggression and desperation, we can clearly perceive the fiery emotion in the murals. The following picture mural "Prince Satay's Feeding Tiger" is taken as an example:

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A complete picture of the fresco of Prince Satu feeding the tiger

The lower right part of this mural is the grief of Prince Satu's family after Prince Satu sacrifice himself in order to let the dying tiger survive. If we take a closer look, compared with the dignified form of the characters in the upper and middle parts of the mural, the characters in the lower right part cannot even stand up, crying and grabbing the ground, which can be described as extremely sad. Moreover, Prince Saday's willingness to sacrifice himself to save the tiger also reflects the deep feeling of compassion and compassion in Buddhism.

This sacrifice spirit of killing and benevolence formed an emotional resonance with the spirit of the Dunhuang people protecting their homes as a way of death, which further sublimated the emotions in the murals.

Representation of Strength: Understanding of the "Unsettled" Trend in Chinese Civilization

Familiar with ancient Chinese art is actually difficult to bypass the theme of "potential". In the Chinese civilization, it has long been recognized that the influence of the "potential" thing on the overall situation, such as politics, military, feng shui, and so on.

Specifically for painting, it is through a specific arrangement that it can show a movement posture, so that the picture comes to life, reaching an unexpected trend.

For example, Gu Kaizhi of the Eastern Jin Dynasty advocated the use of specific scenes, such as the use of endless mountain trends and specific coloring to highlight the tension of the picture, and then depicting the reflection of extreme quietness or ease to express the convergence of momentum, thus forming a A round attitude.

For example, the following mural "The Map of Enlightenment":

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Mural "Demonic Enlightenment"

This mural shows a good grasp of "potential" from the picture, and the entire picture forms a sharp contrast: on the four sides of the picture, there are the magic army under the ten days of the demon wave . They are all face-down and aggressive. Throw various weapons at the Buddha, among which there are three witches who are charming and charming; while Shakyamuni in the middle of the picture is calm and unaffected, gently twists the placket with one hand and touches the ground with one hand. In this contrast, both the attacking posture of the demon army and the seductive posture of the witch are eliminated by the immovable posture of the Buddha. This kind of contrast on the screen is a kind of elaboration on the "potential".

In the mural, Shakyamuni was immobile first, and then imprinted the seals, which shows that in Buddhism, there must be a bodhisattva with a lowered eyebrow and a vajra anger . In order to be able to perform a thunderbolt, Fangxian ’s heartfelt philosophy is important to Buddhist culture The understanding is profound.

3. Why did the Chinese civilization and Buddhist culture produce a wonderful flower in Dunhuang?

After seeing the introduction above, many people will be surprised. Why is Dunhuang far from the Hexi Corridor thousands of miles away, and Chinese civilization will affect it? Why should Dunhuang, which should be full of Western culture, flourish Buddhist culture? We can't go back to the past to perceive it accurately, but we can always figure out some contexts by looking back on history:

Although Dunhuang is located in the Hexi Corridor, it is one of the tinders of Chinese civilization.

Dunhuang and the Chinese civilization have an inseparable connection, in fact, they have a certain time and place and people . Beginning with the Yongjia Rebellion in the Western Jin Dynasty, the entire Central Plains fell into a turbulent period of nearly 200 years, and social unrest was disturbed. At that time, the people living in the Central Plains had to choose to leave their homeland and choose a new settlement in order to survive. At the time, Dunhuang was relatively stable because of its distance from the Central Plains and fewer wars. In addition, although the natural environment of Dunhuang is slightly inferior to that of the Central Plains, the melting ice and snow from the high mountains, fertile land and sufficient light make this area a suitable farming area.

The migration of the population brings not only "pots and pans", but also the civilization behind the population. Except for a few exiles, those who were able to migrate to Dunhuang at that time were mainly family members from the Central Plains. These clan families brought their lifestyle and eating habits, their literary pursuits and aesthetic styles, in other words, the Chinese civilization.

A perfect match with these migrants is the Dunhuang people who have lived in Dunhuang for more than 200 years. They gradually moved here from the time when Emperor Han Wu opened up the western territory. Although it was the rule of the Jin Dynasty at that time, from the perspective of civilization, they still had a considerable degree of Chinese civilization, especially the foundation of the Han culture. This makes the integration of migrants and family clan very natural.

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Zhang Zhi's calligraphy

In addition, Dunhuang itself has a very high level of Han culture. For example, the calligrapher Zhang Zhi, who has a distinct Dunhuang color, cursive and cursive, can be described as a tiger lying, rising like a dragon, the name of Cao Sheng is extolled through the ages, and even the king of books He also uses his calligraphy to evaluate himself.

The natural tolerance of the Chinese civilization complements the weak aggression of Buddhist culture

If we read through the history of China, we will always marvel that the Chinese civilization is really too strong and inclusive. Although some foreigners occupied the Central Plains in some historical periods, these foreign powers are still used to (or have to) adopt the rule of Chinese civilization. the way.

The natural inclusiveness of the Chinese civilization stems from both its theoretical foundation and cultural self-confidence. Because it is ahead of other civilizations around for a long time, it has a natural psychological advantage for other cultures, which makes it extremely tolerant of foreign cultures and allows the existence of other cultures.

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Lezun the monk stationed in Dunhuang

The core of Buddhist culture is the transformation of the present and the afterlife. It is the tolerance and restraint of reality, which makes the Buddhist culture naturally weak. Although Buddhism still hoped that more people could believe in Buddhism, this hope was realized through the hard work and good deeds of Buddhist monks at the time, which made the local people in Dunhuang not in conflict with Buddhist culture. In addition, since Dunhuang is in a period of turmoil, the teachings of the afterlife in Buddhism can soothe the hearts of Dunhuang people who were war-torn at the time, so that they receive spiritual comfort.

It is precisely because of the inclusiveness of Chinese culture and the weak aggression of Buddhist culture that they complement each other, and this has also promoted the prosperity of Buddhist art.

The Northern Wei regime admired the Han and Buddhist cultures despite being the Xianbei regime

When the Mogao Grottoes were built in Dunhuang, it was particularly worth mentioning during the period of Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty. This period was the most turbulent era in Dunhuang (faced with the threat of Rouran), but it was also the era when the qualitative change of Dunhuang art occurred.

Although Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty was the monarch of the Xianbei regime, he had long admired the Han culture for a long time. He had already become proficient in the Confucian classics. He used the monarchy in his hands to vigorously promote the reform of the Northernization of the Northern Wei Dynasty, and promoted the comprehensive localization of the Northern Wei Dynasty. Dunhuang at that time, as an outpost and an important base of the Northern Wei Dynasty in the Western Regions, was naturally affected by the comprehensive Chinese reform.

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Reform of Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty

In addition, Emperor Xiaowen and other Northern Wei rulers were admirers of Buddhist culture, and some of them were even determined Buddhists, which made Buddhism spread in the Northern Wei Dynasty without encountering much resistance.

The geographical location of Dunhuang is unique: the inevitable place for interaction between the Eastern Jin Dynasty, the Southern Dynasty and the Western Regions

Due to the fierce competition between the North and South Koreas, in the case that each of them could not make an effective breakthrough, they turned their eyes to the Western Regions. At that time, the Northern Wei Dynasty had close ties with the Western Regions, and the Southern Dynasty also had close contacts with the Western Regions.

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Dunhuang's location

If we look at the map, Dunhuang was just at the entrance from the Central Plains to the Western Regions. Therefore, if you want to connect with the Western Regions, you must pass through Dunhuang. Dunhuang can naturally get the moon near the water tower and get the Han culture from the Central Plains, especially from the Eastern Jin Dynasty. Han culture in the Southern Dynasty. Although Dunhuang belonged to the Northern Wei Dynasty at that time, it was culturally centered south of the Yangtze River. Due to cultural differences between the South and Tuyuhun, the exchanges are actually not very frequent. Therefore, the roads from the Eastern Jin Dynasty and the Southern Dynasty to the Western Regions can only be achieved along the Dunhuang route.

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Dunhuang map during the Jin Dynasty

In addition, we can't ignore the role of Buddhists. At that time, there were different levels of Buddhist crazes on the territory of the Northern and Southern Dynasties. Many Buddhist monks in Dunhuang traveled to the Southern Dynasties to practice, and brought back the Buddhist culture of the Southern Dynasties. With the obvious imprint of Chinese civilization, Dunhuang bloomed a flower of art that was significantly different from other parts of the north.

Fourth, conclusion and thinking

Dunhuang's murals are a treasure of human art treasures. Its value is not just its own artistic value, but it has become a collision and fusion of Chinese civilization and Buddhist culture, providing a kind of fusion of local civilization and foreign culture. Paradigm. Of course, this paradigm is not as directly available as carving a sword, but it is a fusion of the turmoil in the Central Plains, the partial peace in Dunhuang, the high cultural achievements of the Han family, and the beginning of Buddhist culture. . The Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang are still standing. Maybe in the future, there will be a new cultural fusion, leaving new marks in the Mogao Grottoes.

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