Global Journal of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (GJAHSS)

EA Journals

Tang Dynasty

A Study on the Characteristics and the Meaning of the ‘baoxianghua’ Patterns in the Dun Huang Murals, China (Published)

The study explores the distinctive ‘baoxianghua’ designs intrinsic to the art of China’s Tang Dynasty. Unlike typical Chinese patterns that usually replicate specific natural forms or shapes, the ‘baoxianghua’ patterns depict an idealized plant emblem that carried significant symbolic weight in the Tang period. The main goal of this project is to investigate the unique characteristics and significances of the ‘baoxianghua’ motifs during the four stages of the Tang Dynasty, with a specific focus on the Dun Huang frescoes. The research aims to unravel and examine the relationships between the features and symbolic components of the ‘baoxianghua’ patterns in these works of art, laying the groundwork for further scholarly discussion. The methodology selected for this study is a qualitative approach with a strong emphasis on visual investigation. This study employs analysis to investigate the ‘baoxianghua’ motifs across various phases of the Tang Dynasty as depicted in the Dun Huang frescoes. Furthermore, it involves iconographic analysis of images and text, conducted to unravel metaphors and symbols ingrained in these motifs. Principally, this research underscores the uniqueness of the ‘baoxianghua’ motif in classical Chinese art, emphasizing its absence of literal natural correspondences and its deep-rooted cultural and symbolic significance within the context of the Tang Dynasty. The research strives to provide extensive theoretical insight into these motifs, particularly in the context of the Dun Huang frescoes, using a qualitative method and a technique of visual analysis.

Keywords: Baoxianghua Patterns, Chinese Art Symbolism, Dun Huang Murals, Tang Dynasty, Visual Analysis

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