Shanxi Clay Sculpted Head of Buddha – 漢來大飯店 (The Grand Hi Lai Hotel)

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Most parts of Shanxi Province have a temperate monsoon continental climate. This special climate is suitable to develop clay sculpture. In the process of making clay sculpture, it takes at least one year to dry it thoroughly in the wind. After being dried, the clay sculpture can be covered with paper or coloured drawings. Clay sculptures present realism. Although they have religious meaning, human figures’ postures, expressions and clothes are secularized. In the middle of the Buddha’s forehead is one spot called baihao. Its eye look downwards, implying delivering and saving all beings. Statues of Buddha had been created before Tang dynasty whereas theme of religious stories had been focused on only after the Song dynasty. For the Chinese, stone carving was a foreign technique. Stone material in Dunhuang was a conglomerate. When statues could not be made by this material, local clay sculpture technique was used to make up any deficit. China’s earliest clay sculptured Buddha statues were produced in this way.

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