A Road Close to the Gods - Dongba Painting

 

A Road Close to the Gods - Dongba Painting "The Road to Heaven", of the Naxi People.

A wonderful book about one of the most important rituals of Dongba religion, "The Road to Heaven" is a treasury now accessible to the global public. It is a reproduction of the longest and best preserved of the old Dongba scrolls. The book is folded in a way that on one side you can enjoy the scroll, and in the back a summary explanation of every painting, in Chinese, English and Japanese. Below we transcribe the English foreword of the book.

"The Road to Heaven paintings is a kind of long scroll paintings used for funeral and "releasing the souls of the departed" rituals in the Dongba religion of the Naxi people. It describes a long journey on which the souls of the departed have to be tortured in every possible way in hell, before being reincarnated as a man again, and finally joining the world of gods and the thirty-three- storeys of heaven. This kind of painting is regarded as the longest ancient scroll painting by academic circles from home and abroad. During the ritual, the Dongba spread the painting "The Road to Heaven", and chant the words of the scripture entitled "Guiding the A Road Close to the Gods - Dongba Painting souls of the departed on the Road to Heaven" standing beside it in order to release the souls of the departed."

"This "Road to Heaven" (during the Qing Dynasty) is kept at the Lijiang Dongba Cultural Museum. It is 14,35 meters long and 0,34 meters wide, painted on white cotton cloth treated with starch. More than 410 demons, deities, Dongba specialists and over 100 varied images of animals can be found in this painting .It shows people a mysterious world of demons and deities, it could therefore be regarded as a great work of ancient religious culture."

A Road Close to the Gods - Dongba Painting "The Road to Heaven", of the Naxi People. Yunnan Fine Arts Publishing House. 2001

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