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Song Dynasty painting goes digital

06-25-2010 09:07 BJT

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The song dynasty painting "Along the River During the Qingming Festival" is the "piece de resistance" of Chinese art.

As an artistic creation, the piece has been revered, and court artists of subsequent dynasties have made several re-interpretive replicas. Now, the Palace Museum has created a digital version of the giant scroll.

The long scroll has been converted into a three-dimensional image on a digital screen measuring one hundred meters by six meters.

The river in the picture appears to be flowing. People and cattle seem to be standing next to audiences. Ten times the original size, the digital version of the painting has special sound and lighting effects that change constantly.

The long scroll has been converted into a three-dimensional image on a digital screen measuring one hundred meters by six meters. 
The long scroll has been converted into a three-dimensional image on a digital 
screen measuring one hundred meters by six meters. 

Visitors who view the work are able to virtually travel in time to the prosperous capital of the Northern Song Dynasty, Bianliang, or today's Kaifeng city in central China's Henan Province, which is depicted in the painting.

Li Ji, deputy director of Palace Museum, said, "It takes a great effort for the experts to decipher the work's meaning, not to mention ordinary people. Digital technology allows an easy access for the general public to comprehend the masterpiece."

The entire piece was painted in hand scroll format and the content reveals the lifestyle of all levels of the society from rich to poor as well as different economic activities in rural areas and the city.

The painting is famous because of its geometrically accurate images of boats, bridges, shops, scenery and characters.

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