A life dedicated to frescoes

By Sun Ruisheng and Li Yang | China Daily | Updated: 2023-05-03 09:56
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Liu Guohua describes the frescoes at the museum. ZOU HONG/CHINA DAILY

A crossroad of different cultures

Situated in the middle reaches of the Yellow River in North China, Shanxi is not only a cradle of Chinese civilization but also located at a crossroad of different cultures, with the Inner Mongolia autonomous region to its north and Northwest China to its west, leading to the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and Central Asia (as well as South Asia). As a result, it has many temples and grottoes scattered across its rugged landscape.

Liu recalled his "first encounter "with the "beautiful but ill-maintained" frescoes, which according to him, was a "life-changing experience", in Kaihua Temple in Shanxi's Gaoping, the hometown of his then classmate and girlfriend Qiu Junling, who is now his wife, in 1993.The temple was built in 571, and famous for its frescoes that were painted during the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

Qiu said: "The temple is near my home. I often visited it with my grandparents. I was fascinated by it. But I didn't know much about it beyond what the old villagers told us children at the time. Since I thought it's a place worth seeing, I took him (Liu) there."

Liu added: "Although I had seen some frescoes in some temples in my hometown as a child, this was the first time I really stood in front of such a large and magnificent fresco. The frescoes of Kaihua Temple were deeply imprinted on my mind." After working as a reporter for about a decade, with the support of his wife, Liu founded his own company, designing and making cultural products as well as handicrafts and souvenirs.

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