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The Torrential River Against the Towering Mountain
——A Lecture Based on the Rhombus Ornamental Paints Prominent in the Western Regions of Xinjiang, Kucha, and Qiuci
Shi Xiaoming
This paper will investigate the source of cultural schemes in Chinese murals from Kuqa, concluding that the style orginates from the rhombus ornamental shapes featured in the Western Regions of Xinjiang Kuqa Qiuci, and this style was subsequently spread across the Eurasian continent.
The basic argument of this paper has not been elaborated since the publication of the author’s first thesis dealing with this topic, Seeking the Kizil Grotto Rhombus Ornamental Painted Shape. In the process of looking for representations of the rhombus image in the Kizil caves, the author gradually saw the clues hidden in the mists of history, pointing to the cultural background of these shapes.
In the authors point of view the landscape painting of the caves is characterized by cross-cultural communication between the Western Regions. The rhombus ornamental image may have been created by ancient Sumerians more than five thousand years ago, or come to Kucha in the influx of decorative colored pottery and triangular geometric patterns which occurred around eight thousand years ago. It may even represent the root philosophical thought during the axial period. The images are influenced by two basic aesthetic systems: loftiness and grace are situated in the living concept indistinctly from beginning to end.
As for the landscape schema of Buddhist cosmology in the rhombus ornamental shapes, it is merely a case in point of medieval religious art.