Dunhuang Flying Apsaras cosplay gains popularity

2023-06-12 Editor : Zhao Li ECNS App Download
A tourist dressed in Flying Apsaras costumes takes photos in Dunhuang City, northwest China's Gansu Province on June 7, 2023. (Photo: China News Service/ Wang Binyin)

A tourist dressed in Flying Apsaras costumes takes photos in Dunhuang City, northwest China's Gansu Province on June 7, 2023. (Photo: China News Service/ Wang Binyin)

(ECNS) -- Dressed in delicate light chiffon and with ancient styled makeup, travelers have flocked to Dunhuang City, northwest China's Gansu Province, to take photos themed on Dunhuang Flying Apsaras at attractions since June.

As the symbol of Dunhuang art, Flying Apsaras are scattered in all the 500 grottoes of the Dunhuang area. They are an embodiment of Gandharva, the God in charge of holy songs and dances, and Kimnara, the God in charge of entertainment. Without wings or feathers, the gods fly in the sky with the support of floating cloth and colored ribbons instead of clouds and wings.

The photography orders are already scheduled several months in advance, said Li Dazhou, the owner of a local shop. He said the photographers are usually too busy to come down from Mingsha Mountain, one of the popular attractions, except for taking a breath during the hottest time at noon.

He further explained that this year, nearly a hundred photography shops have emerged in the Dunhuang area. In addition to the popular Flying Asparas costumes, there is also Western Region princess attire, which is highly favored by tourists.

According to the service center of the Mingsha Mountain Crescent Lake Scenic Area in Dunhuang, the introduction of travel photography projects in the area is not only attracting tourists but also

showcasing the integration of Dunhuang culture and multi-ethnic cultures. Here, visitors can experience the costumes and cultures of different ethnic groups, gain insights into Dunhuang's historical background and cultural heritage, and create wonderful memories.

Dunhuang dance has seen rapid development through online platforms, especially with desert dances and travel photography, allowing more people to become acquainted with Dunhuang culture and showing a willingness to come and experience it, which is a very positive trend, said Gu Lixiong, a Ph.D. student at the Minzu University of China, who specifically traveled to Dunhuang to investigate the trend.

According to the latest statistics from the Dunhuang Municipal Bureau of Culture, Tourism, and Sports on Sunday, the city has received a total of nearly 1.4 million visitors this year, representing a growth of 31.07 percent compared to the same period in 2019.

Located in Dunhuang City, Mogao Caves, also known as the Thousand Buddha Grottoes, are the most notable Chinese Buddhist grottoes listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Having witnessed the spread of Buddhism along the Silk Road into China, the Flying Apsaras have left a touchstone of diverse cultural exchanges in world history. Nowadays we can see lively images of Flying Apsaras in various forms, such as dances, trademarks, and ads.

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