Have you not seen the horses traversing the snowy shores, where the flat sands stretch endlessly towards the yellow horizon?

In the ancient hearts, the Western Regions, besides the rich and colorful myths and the customs with their exotic treasures, are also filled with the desolation of “the spring breeze never reaching Yumen Pass.” Unlike the lively elegance of the Central Plains, where one leans on railings to admire flowers and listens to melodies by the window, in the vast deserts and wastelands, even if the bonfires before our eyes blaze brightly, raising our gaze to the distance reveals nothing but the cold darkness shrouded in yellow sand.

“What impressed me deeply, besides the stunning artworks in the Mogao Grottoes, were the never-ending grains of sand that fell from my shoes and socks,” Asaka said. Hence, the main tone of the resonating sounds of the Linlang Mingsha music is not the vibrant and saturated hues commonly associated with Dunhuang, but rather a slightly muted earthy color with hints of gray. This alteration precisely presents the inevitable dimness, imperfections, and the most authentic appearance of Dunhuang murals after enduring thousands of years.

And the inspiration for the gradient from outer to inner background color comes from the changing light as one walks from inside the grottoes to the outside, as if every person touching the keycaps walks with her through a tunnel of time, traversing and lingering in the weighty history before returning to reality.

(2) Colors
The Dunhuang Grottoes, like a small boat, sail amidst the boundless sea of sand, carrying a touch of magnificent colors. It combines architecture, polychrome sculptures, and murals, making it the largest Buddhist grotto temple site spanning over a thousand years.

Buddhist cave art was created with a heavy religious mission and a devout and respectful attitude. The rich and vibrant imagery in the paintings creates a splendid and diverse ideal world. The abundance of strong and contrasting colors brings about exceptional visual aesthetics and spiritual solace. The Linlang Mingsha music presents the unique color contrasts of Dunhuang murals in a relatively gentle manner, with golden flecks embellishing the background of low saturation and earthy hues, resembling sunlight casting fragmented shadows outside the grottoes. The smooth lines create an overall sense of ease and harmony, neither losing the weight of history nor fully showcasing the beauty of colors before us.

(3) Patterns
Mural paintings are artworks on walls that document the rise and fall of a society, the aesthetics of art, and the creative spirit of an era.

Asaka’s delicate patterns draw inspiration from numerous original mural paintings, employing vintage colors to recreate the historical essence on the design of the keycaps: auspicious clouds and ribbons gracefully dance, reminiscent of celestial dancing figures on the murals; the lotus flower and meditation lamp symbolize a tranquil mind and the wisdom of enlightenment; the Kettledrum and Pipa, with their melodic tunes resembling both singing and weeping, as fingertips dance upon them, one feels as though they are plucking strings and playing drums, transported back to the Silk Road of a thousand years ago, joining in harmony and singing with Hu Ji.

(4) Text
Since the discovery of the Dunhuang Cave Library, tens of thousands of literary works have reemerged into the world. Among them are numerous languages and scripts from various ethnic groups, displaying a diverse range of calligraphic styles and techniques, making them the most precious historical materials in the history of Chinese calligraphy.

Taking inspiration from the Dunhuang “Thousand Character Classic” in seal script, Asaka has designed the letter and number areas, integrating the unique complexities and layered meanings of Dunhuang script into modern letters and numbers. It retains the smooth and rhythmic curves rich in ancient charm while embodying the simplicity, order, and balance of modern script. In the process of addition and subtraction, it captures the essence of the past and present, constructing a restrained and dignified beauty akin to the hidden scriptures within the square space.

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