Research of Blueness : Lapis Lazuli in the Kizil Grottoes Murals of the Silk Road

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201905212062
Title: Research of Blueness : Lapis Lazuli in the Kizil Grottoes Murals of the Silk Road
Author: Hayashi, Yoshihito
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, Department of World Cultures
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2019
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201905212062
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/301910
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: altaistiikka
Altaic Studies
Altaistik
Abstract: The primary purpose of this thesis is to clarify the role and origin of the lapis lazuli used in the Kizil Grottos in China. Particularly, it will seek to clarify how lapis lazuli was used, where it came from and who used it. The paper begins by considering the techniques used for purifying lapis lazuli, as well as its different uses. Following this, I consider the both the layout of and the different shades of blue present in the Kizil Grottoes Murals, as well as how the different shades were used to emphasise the importance of motifs. The purification of lapis lazuli, used to produce different types of blue colour, has a long history, and it has changed along with the development of new chemicals. This paper tries to illuminate how the different variations of the concept of “blueness”, expressed by three different Japanese kanji (Chinese characters), 青(ao) 碧(ao) 蒼(ao), influenced the roles and use of these different types of blue in the murals found in the Kizil Grottoes. This paper also considers the origin of the lapis lazuli in the Kizil Grottoes. Lapis lazuli used in the Silk Road has until now been believed to have been exclusively produced in Afghanistan; however, this thesis presents findings that cast doubt on this commonly accepted theory since lapis lazuli was present in significant amounts only in the 224th cave in Kizil. Instead, I propose the hypothesis that the lapis lazuli used in the 224th cave was not from Afghanistan but a much nearer place, namely, the Tibet and Qinghai regions of China. The study of art techniques and painting materials provides the primary theoretical background for this paper; however, other studies are also consulted. Specifically, archaeological and historical studies of the Silk Road, studies of the Kizil Grottoes, as well as other studies from the fields of linguistics, Buddhist studies, and art history, are all also extensively consulted.
Subject: blueness (blue)
lapis lazuli
art techniques
painting materials
fine arts
pigment
Kizil Grottoes Murals
the 224th cave (Kizil Grottoes)
the Silk Road
Qiuci
Tocharian B
Brahmi script


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