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Ancient sports in Dunhuang murals

dunhuang muralstYLSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours

Archery of Northern Zhou Dynasty  from No.290tYLSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours

Dunhuang grottoes were continuously carved from the middle of 4th century to 14th century and nearly 50000 square meters of murals have been handed down. A wide range of folk sports were usually as the theme of these murals, including archery, wrestling, swimming and Wushu (martial art), acrobatics and so on, even some Olympic events can find their origin from these murals.tYLSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours
Basically, archery in Han Dynasty has already possessed the attributes of modern athletic sports, very close to the archery competition of Olympics.tYLSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours

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horsemanship of Five Dynasties from No.61  in DunhuangtYLSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours

HorsemanshiptYLSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours

There are many murals about horsemanship in Dunhuang. For example, in the No.61 grotto of Five Dynasty (907-960), a mural was depicted with six pictures to represent horsemanship. The riders in the mural standing straight on the horseback or holding two bows in the hand showcased their ability to keep balance despite the fast speed of the horse. Another picture in the mural portrayed some breathtaking actions performed on horseback.tYLSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours

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wrestling of Northern Zhou Dynasty from No.290 in DunhuangtYLSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours

WrestlingtYLSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours

Wrestling has been a traditional competition since the ancient Olympics came into being. A large amount of murals about this ancient sport have been found in Dunhuang. For example, there are a series of murals on the No.290 grotto of Mogao grottos portraying a fierce wrestling competition and in the No.61 grotto even has a mural painted with ancient sumo.tYLSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours
In Dunhuang mural the sport of vaulting horse is similar to present-day high jump and long jump, which are composed of the motions of run-up, one-foot take-off, flight and landing.tYLSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours

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Western Wei Dynasty No.249 of Mogao grotto in DunhuangtYLSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours

The Dunhuang murals are not only a witness to the prosperity of ancient Chinese sport, but also a demonstration of the descendent relation between ancient sports and Olympic events.tYLSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours
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