"Among the places I went was Dunhuang, one of China's great Buddhist cave sites. Dunhuang was important to me for a number of reasons. The art there was real, some of it more than fifteen hundred yers old... In many cases the painting is rough, but I loved it because it is full of energy, in part because the artists worked on hard surfaces with temperas and gouache in opaque colors. So I played with opaque colors and Dunhuang styles on paper. Even today, I like to use opaque colors on dark background, which is an early Chinese tradition. The challenge is to use scheme elegently. Studying Dunhuang painting convinced me I could not start a new art without becoming familiar with as many traditions as I could."
- (Michael Knight and Li Huayi, The Monumental Landscapes of Li Huayi, San Francisco: Asian Art Museum, 2004, pp. 43-45)
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