One of China’s most famous paintings has been brought to life in a stunning 40 foot-long wooden carving. Along the River During the Qingming Festival’, perhaps the best-known scroll painting in Chinese art history, was meticulously engraved on the trunk of a thousand-year-old camphor tree by sculptor Zheng Chunhui.
Images of the impressive 30-tonne display at a museum in Putian, south-east China’s Fujian province were released by Xinhua news agency on Thursday.
The classic panoramic painting – dubbed ‘China’s Mona Lisa’ – by imperial artist Zhang Zeduan depicts a flourishing urban life in Bianjing, the capital of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). Bianjing is today’s Kaifeng city in Henan province.
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Spanning a length of 5.25 metres (17 feet), the masterpiece illustrates the day-to-day life of more than 1,659 characters and 209 domesticated animals, as well as stunning landscapes and architecture including bridges, shops, food stalls and city walls.
As for Zheng’s intricate carving, billowing willow trees, boats, tiny houses and lively crowds of more than 550 individually carved civilians offer viewers a cinematic and detailed view into the country’s rich heritage and ancient civilisation flowering along the riverbank.
It took Zheng and his team of 35 artists more than four years to complete the piece in 2013, according to Xinhua.
Measuring at 12 metres (40 feet) in length, the sculpture has won the title of ‘the longest wooden carving’ on the Guinness World Records.
The original painting is now in the collection of the Palace Museum in Beijing and was completely unrolled in September 2015 for the first time since 2005, drawing huge crowds.