XI’AN, May 9 — A group of six well-preserved frescoes featuring an ancient Chinese beauty from more than 1,000 years ago is on display at the ongoing International Horticultural Exposition in Xi’an, capital of the northwestern Shaanxi Province.
The six interconnected frescoes, 1.62 meters tall and 3.6 meters long in total, were unearthed from a Tang Dynasty (618-907) tomb in Chang’an County near Xi’an in 1987, said Zhao Liguang, curator of Xi’an Beilin Museum.p All the frescoes are of the same lady, relaxing with her servants in a garden, said Zhao, adding that it is the first time for the paintings to be on public display.
He said the lady portrayed would have been seen as beautiful in the Tang Dynasty. “She is chubby with a round face and small mouth, and she wears a draggle-tail gown.”
The lady appears much taller than all her servants, said Zhao, “indicating her superiority.”
One of the frescoes shows the lady playing the lute, a Chinese plucking a string instrument, and a servant about half her height dancing to the music.
Zhao, a specialist on mural preservation, spent more than a month carefully detaching the frescoes from the tomb wall.
On the opposite wall of the tomb chamber, across from the beauty, were frescoes featuring a man, presumably the tomb owner, drinking and having a a feast, he said.
The frescoes had been kept at the museum and never been put on display before the Xi’an Expo opened at the end of last month.
More than 1,000 square meters of Tang Dynasty frescoes have been found in China, mostly in Xi’an, Taiyuan of neighboring Shanxi Province and Turpan of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
“But interconnected and intact frescoes like these are rare,” said Zhao.
The frescoes are on display at the heart of the horticultural expo, inside glass walls and guarded by police, said Wang Jingtao, a press officer at the expo.
“The theme of the frescoes resembles that of the Expo. It’s like an ancient Chinese beauty keeping the visitors company across time and space,” said Wang.