Baisha Murals, Lijiang
Baisha Murals are located in Baisha village which lies 10km north of Lijiang ancient town, west to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, south to Longquan Village, West to Zhishan Mountain. Being an old and beautiful small town, it is the earliest habitation and political centre for the Naxi Nationality.
During the period of the Ming Dynasty (CE 1368-1644), the reign of Mayor Mu (the then mayor of Lijiang) passed through its golden days. In order to show its stable political stability and economic prosperity, Mayor Mu built thousands of houses and palaces, forming a large-scale of architectural complex. The buildings like Baisha Crystal Palace, Dabaoji Palace and Dading Temple were all built at that time.
The Mu Clan Headman ruled Lijiang and managed to stabilize his political power in the late Ming Dynasty which brought forth prosperity of the local economy. In the mean time, constructions were unfolded to build the royal palaces and monasteries. Among the survived ancient architectural groups at Baisha Village of Lijiang, the Dabaoji Palace and Glazed Palace were built during Headman Muwang's reign. The Dabaoji Village is consisted of 3 courtyards, each of which is flanked with buildings supported with thick wooden columns and magnificent upturned eaves, clearly depicting the architectural styles of the Ming Dynasty of ancient China.
The Baisha Murals are listed for focused protection at the provincial level. The murals were successively painted in 300 years starting in the early Ming and ending in the Qing Dynasties. The Murals had incorporated the Han, Tibetan and Naxi cultures, and depicted religious stories of the Tibetan Buddhism and Taoism. All the murals were delicately designed, and all the figures showed true-to-life forms which were painted with elegant and colorful touches. Such murals are praised as the refined, multi-religion masterpieces as well as the rare treasures of the ancient times.
Murals there combine the cultures of Han, Tibet, Naxi together, displaying the life stories of the Tibet Buddhism, Confucian and Taoism. They gather different schools of religious culture and art, forming a unique school of its own. The murals were painted by thoughtful arrangements, careful drawing, abundant colors, exact shapes, and lifelike characters. They absorbed the features of Dongba painting, which is boorish with strong color contrast, well-proportioned lines and refined brushwork.
The subjects involved in the murals are quite extensive. For example, vegetation, birds, insects, running horse, blooming lotus, forest and farmland can all be involved. These murals reveal the passionate life attitudes and sharp observation ability of the painters, who would also blend their ideas of fine art into the paintings of religious figures. And social life of their days would also be revealed in the murals.
Because of its distinguishing features of fine art and historical, cultural connotations, Baisha murals attract hundreds of thousands of tourists from home and abroad.