Digital technologies revive murals in Yongle Palace, China's Shanxi

(People's Daily Online) 10:03, June 12, 2023

Visitors can appreciate 3D-printed exhibits and digital murals and savor an immersive experience with augmented reality technology at an exhibition hall in the Yongle Palace, which was listed in the first batch of key cultural relic sites under state protection, in north China's Shanxi Province.

This showcases the latest achievements of the digital protection of murals in the Yongle Palace built in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Located in Ruicheng county, Yuncheng city, Shanxi, the palace is known for its magnificent murals.

A group of visitors admire a replica of murals in Yongle Palace in Xiangyang, central China's Hubei Province. (Xinhua file photo)

Technicians have completed the collection of digital information about the murals, buildings and movable cultural relics in the Yongle Palace. A digital platform for the palace will be released soon.

Li Luke, an associate professor at the School of Architecture of Tsinghua University, and her team began to survey and sample data with 3D laser scanners, hand-held color optical scanners, and drones in the palace in 2018. Over the past five years, she has led students to the palace for digital surveying of its murals and buildings many times.

"Digital technologies can help us 'see' things that are invisible to the naked eye, thus providing reference for the conservation and research of ancient buildings," said Li.

A special exhibition of the Yongle Palace's protection and inheritance was held at the Shanxi Museum in 2021. During the exhibition, two 3D-printed huge murals of the palace, each of which is 4.2 meters tall and 13 meters long, attracted throngs of visitors. The color and details of the 3D versions are the same as those of the original mural with 286 figures on the wall of the Yongle Palace's Sanqing Hall. Visitors could play an interactive game and learn stories of the figures by scanning the mural using an app.

Over the past two years, the special exhibition has been held in four cities. It will be next held in Guangzhou city, south China's Guangdong Province. "We plan to hold the exhibition across the country and the world," said Xi Jiulong, head of the Yongle Palace mural preservation research institute.

The proper use of digital technologies has made Yongle Palace known to an increasing number of people, and brought more cultural relics back to life.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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