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The Nine-Colored Deer

24m Animation 1981

Language: Chinese, with English subtitles


Synopsis A Deer of Nine Colours is based on the story of the mural Deer King Jataka in cave 257 of the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang. In the form of Dunhuang murals, the film presents itself in the style of ancient Chinese Buddhist paintings, and tells the story of the Nine-Coloured Deer who often helps people in difficulties. After being rescued by the Nine-Coloured Deer , a snake charmer reveals his saviour’s identity to the King. However, the Nine-Coloured Deer manages to evade danger with his magic power, and the snake charmer receives the retribution he deserves. This legendary story and the film’s aesthetic image have become the childhood memories of many Chinese people. The film also promotes h traditional Chinese arts and uniquely uses Chinese opera music and folk music, and its elegance has obtained popularity among a wide audience.

Curators’ Notes Based on the Buddhist Jataka tale of the same name, A Deer of Nine Colours tells a story about retribution and makes a startling facsimile to the magnificent mural found in Mogao Caves, Dunhuang. Be prepared for the stunning beauty from one of the magnum opuses produced by Shanghai Animation Film Studio. 








Shanghai Animation Film Studio