Art of love getsmixed re­views

Park of­fi­cials want it re­moved; oth­ers say it should re­main as a tourist at­trac­tion

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By SHI XIAOFENG in Hangzhou and ZHU LIXIN in He­fei Con­tact the writ­ers at zhulixin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A rock climber spent two months paint­ing a por­trait of the man she ad­mires on the face of a cliff in Xianju county, Zhe­jiang prov­ince. But her ex­pres­sion of love will soon be re­moved at the re­quest of the lo­cal tourism au­thor­ity.

The im­age of a man’s smil­ing face, about 6 me­ters tall, was painted on the face of Fanzheng Rock in Xianju Na­tional Park. The rock rises 281 me­ters atop a 500-me­ter­high moun­tain.

The paint­ing was cre­ated in a re­cess of the rock, and its ex­is­tence wasn’t dis­cov­ered un­til an­other climber posted pho­tos of it on­line. The photo went vi­ral, with ne­ti­zens re­fer­ring to the “rock paint­ing of love”.

A 34-year-old fe­male bank clerk from Jiao­jiang dis­trict, Taizhou city, was quoted by FM93 ra­dio as say­ing she did the paint­ing.

The woman, who de­clined to give her name, said the man in the por­trait is an ex­pe­ri­enced rock climber known lo­cally for be­ing the first to at­tempt to climb Fanzheng Rock us­ing hands and feet only, with no rope or other pro­tec­tion, in 2012. He got stuck mid­way up the cliff and had to be rescued.

The woman tried sev­eral means to win his heart, but the man didn’t re­spond to her ad­vances. Fi­nally, she de­cided to paint his im­age at his high point, “leav­ing him up there for wor­ship”.

Start­ing in July, the woman trav­eled to Xianju ev­ery week­end to work se­cretly on the paint­ing. She used im­ported min­eral paints that she bought for more than 3,000 yuan ($450).

To al­low her­self as much time as pos­si­ble to paint, she usu­ally started climb­ing at about 3 am, so she could be­gin work­ing at sun­rise. To en­sure that the paint­ing was ac­cu­rate, she some­times climbed an­other moun­tain to view the art from a dis­tance.

But the woman did ex­pect her se­cret to be so soon.

“I didn’t mean to de­stroy nat­u­ral scenery. It’s my way to pay homage to his ex­plo­ration not dis­cov­ered ef­forts,” she said. “If I am asked to re­move the paint­ing, I will do it as soon as pos­si­ble.”

Xianju Na­tional Park has con­firmed the ex­is­tence of the graf­fiti and said it will be re­moved.

“Ac­cord­ing to reg­u­la­tions, such graf­fiti must be re­moved to re­store the orig­i­nal con­di­tion of the cliff face,” park of­fi­cials said in a state­ment on­line. “The na­tional park man­age­ment com­mit­tee will or­ga­nize ex­perts to in­spect the area and ar­range the re­moval of the graf­fiti in the most en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly way.”

How­ever, many ne­ti­zens said they would like to see the graf­fiti re­main on the cliff be­cause of the touch­ing story be­hind it, and a lo­cal me­dia out­let con­ducted a sur­vey re­cently on whether the paint­ing should by re­moved. Of more than 3,000 re­spon­dents, 57 per­cent said the paint­ing should re­main in place, while 34 per­cent said it should be re­moved.

A ne­ti­zen us­ing the pseu­do­nym “Dapi” said the paint­ing is not ugly, has an in­ter­est­ing story and “has the po­ten­tial to be­come a tourist at­trac­tion”.

Ying Jin­fei, deputy head of the Zhe­jiang ArtMu­seum and a pro­fes­sor at the China Academy of Art, said: “The paint­ing is quite mod­er­ate in terms of its artis­tic level, while the painter’s imag­i­na­tion and the story be­hind it de­serve our recog­ni­tion.”

I didn’t mean to de­stroy nat­u­ral scenery. It’s my way to pay homage to his ex­plo­ration ef­forts.” Rock climber who painted a por­trait on a cliff of the man she ad­mires

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Left: The 6-me­ter-high im­age of a man’s smil­ing face is painted on the face of Fanzheng Rock in Xianju Na­tional Park in Xianju county, Zhe­jiang prov­ince. Right: The artist works on the por­trait.

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