In 2014, China's famous sculptor Qian Shaowu come to Lianyungang to study Kongwang Mountain sculptures. He repeatedly praised the exquisite statues of Han Dynasty, "Kongwang carvings are China's largest statues of Han Dynasty sculptures. Stone shape with little carved, it is very creative.”
"In the history of China sculpture, carvings before Huo Qubing’s tomb epitomized carvings in Han Dynasty. The huge size carvings, stone toads using the same technique, which added a new evidence for Chinese sculpture history." Over the eighty year old, Qian Shaowu is still in good health and quick thinking. He explained the carvings, stone toads and cliff on Kongwang Mountain from the professional perspective point.
Carvings Probably Derived From the Ancient Nuo Drama
"Carvings and stone toads in Kongwang Mountain are probably derived from the Han Dynasty’s funeral ceremony. They were held after the ceremony of Nuo Drama after tombs built." This is the third time that Qian Shaowu came to Lianyungang. The modeling method and huge size carvings and stone toads totally attracted him. Qian Shaowu is known as "Rodin in China". "Li Dazhao", "Bind Ah Bing" and his other works are populated in China. "Du Fu" and his other works are collected by National Museum of China and other art institutions.
Qian Shaowu, regardless of old age, climb Kongwang Mountain to watch carefully the carvings, stone toads distributed in the mountains. His action shows the Chinese old maxim that everything must be only done then been understood profoundly. After careful consideration, he proposed, carvings, stone toads and other sculptures on Kongwang Mountain are the same as those before Huo Qubing’s tomb. Different approaches but equally satisfactory results, by using stone form, Chinese arts try to select the approximate contour image and carved stone in bold and simple cutting method and focus on image processing parts of the body characteristics.
"Pictograph" - Chinese Sculpture Principle
On that day, Qian Shaowu came to the Han Dynasty stone on Kongwang Mountain. Carefully observed the stones and discussed with entourages, he pointed to the stone and excitedly said to them, “You see, the stone’s fat belly, straight spine are very vivid. Artists create on natural stones according to the shape stonecutter and adhering to the principle of interest on original stone." Qian Shaowu said, Kongwang Mountain carvings, stone toads, according to the natural shape of little carved stones, shows Chinese characteristics: Chinese sculpture follows the “pictograph " principle.
"Kongwang Mountain carving is an important part of funeral ceremony at that time among which the stone toad symbolizes eternal life, represents the continuation of underground life, and ensures safety of the owner in the grave. All symbols show there should be a massive tombs." Qian Shaowu said, besides the carvings, stone toads, there should exists other animals in the grave. He suggested the local relic protection workers look carefully in Kongwang Mountain to check whether new evidence could be found.
Qian Shaowu said: “Our ancestors’ appreciation of nature is earlier than the Europeans. Foreign sculptors pay more emphasis on the stone carving to be what they want while only Chinese sculptors appeared to preserve the original stone and its original shape. Our ancestors pay attention to the beauty of nature and natural taste. This is the truth of Chinese characteristic sculpture art.”
Kongwang Mountain Cliff Carvings - Full of Vitality
This time in Lianyungang, Qian Shaowu observed carefully on Kongwang mountain cliff images. "The whole group of images on beautiful rocks has momentum, like the tide surging, full of vitality.” Regarding how to understand the content of the performance of Kongwang Mountain sculpture, Qian Shaowu thinks do not be limited by previous studies. Try to proceed from the actual research and put forward people’s own point of views. Through cursory observation, Mr. Qian thinks the statue is basically the works before the Eastern Han Dynasty, with characteristics of the Han Dynasty stone reliefs.
"Things to be found is far more important than things to be carved.” enjoy exquisite statues on Kongwang Mountain. Qian Shaowu said with emotion," Ancient artists using the original rocks to carve out the vitality of the statues. They knew how to find good things in nature and keep the beauty of stone and carving, which is the highest form of Chinese art.”