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Ancient art given new life

By Wang Kaihao (China Daily)

16:10, April 19, 2013

An oil painting displayed at the Grassland Culture Communication Center in Hohhot, the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. (China Daily/Wang Kaihao)

The cliff paintings of the Yinshan Mountains represent thousands of years of history, and now an antique collector turned gallery owner is on a mission to honor their artistic legacy. Wang Kaihao reports from Hohhot.

Pilgrims to the lama temple Ih Juu in Hohhot, capital of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, may not notice an old bookstore nestled in a corner of the square facing the place of worship. The bookstore's battered facade allows it to blend into the street, giving the impression it has stood there for many years. However, if visitors stumble upon the store and find their way up to the second floor, they will be amazed to discover a selection of fine arts.

Dozens of colorful, flamboyant paintings line the corridors making the space look like something conjured up by Salvador Dali. But the paintings have not been collected only for their aesthetic beauty, but to preserve an important cultural tradition.

Hohhot-native Zhang Haibo, a 43-year-old of the Hui ethnic group, established the Grassland Culture Communication Center before this year's Spring Festival. He launched the project in an effort to revitalize the tradition of the ancient paintings that can be seen on the cliffs of the Yinshan Mountains.

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