Zhang Xu (Tayou Lamu)
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The Chinese Artist Mrs. Zhang Xu (Tayou Lamu),
now living in Beijing, has spent several years of her life with the exploration of the ancient Dongba Culture.

This exhibition will consist of a presentation of the contemporary Dongba paintings from Mrs. Zhang Xu (Tayou Lamu).

The artist's work, based on her intimate understanding of the mysterious Dongba culture, embodies her inner quest to express universal truths, including the unity of Human and Nature, the integration of the ancient and the modern, and the relationship between the human soul and the spirit of the divine. She hopes that her art may contribute new vitality to the ancient Dongba culture.

The roots of my painting inspiration

I first stumbled across Dongba culture thirteen years ago. As a result of this fortuitious accident, I spent six months in the Lijiang area of Yunnan Province interviewing every living Dongba shaman of the ancient Dongba religion. I also had the opportunity to see Dongba scriptures written using the only pictographic script still in use in the world today. During this time, I had the good fortune to be adopted by a Naxi Dongba family in a remote village.

My Naxi father, He Xuezeng, Naxi Father He Xuezeng was a master shaman of the Dongba religion, who specialized in divination.
It was he who gave me my Naxi name, "Tayou Lamu," by divining from the Dongba scriptures. When I asked him what Tayou Lamu means, he told me that Tayou Lamu is one the eighteen goddesses of the Naxi Dongba religion. Her duty is to save those souls that are unable to go to heaven.

My Naxi father told me that his favorite ritual was the one for worshipping Nature. Every year, he spent seven days conducting this ritual in his village. Actually, respect for Nature is the core of Dongba culture. This is why the Naxi people still live in such an unspoiled land. You could say that the Naxi people are living in the midst of the treasure that their traditional culture has passed down to them. My Naxi name, Tayou Lamu, is a sign to me from the spirit of Dongba culture. It has given me my mission - to protect Nature.

Since I became an adopted Naxi daughter Tayou Lamu, I began studying painting encouraged by a Naxi writer Ge Agan and Naxi Aritist Zhang Chunhe in the early 1990s. My own painting style was inspired by a unique pictographic writing system, a rich mythology, and a well-developed indigenous religion with worship-nature rituals on dongba culture.

I hope more people will understand the importance and value of Dongba culture, to give it a new lease of life in our world through my paintings, and to catch the inspiration in the ancient and mysterious Dongba culture behind my contemporary arts creation.

My Naxi home is a wooden house in Mingyin village of Lijiang. The name means "Buzzing Bees," because the village has traditionally been a center of honey production. I often go there to see my Naxi family. Sadly, I lost my Naxi father when he passed on eight years ago. And the world has forever lost a great Dongba shaman and master of Dongba divination. I still often go back to see my Naxi mother, He Yunxiang. And this will be my final resting place, because it is the homeland of my soul.

Copyright © - Zhang Xu (Tayou Lamu)