Born 1962, Cao Yong was born into hardship in China.
After graduation, Cao Yong became the youngest art professor at Tibet University. During his seven years in Tibet, he immersed himself in the spare beauty and distinctive culture of the isolated highlands. To study the prehistoric cave paintings of Tibet, Cao accompanied only by a horse, a dog, and a gun for hunting–lived alone in deserted mountain caves for nearly a year.
He spent seven years in Tibet and spent a year living alone in mountain caves of Ali, West Tibet, so he could copy the remains of ancient Tibetan wall paintings of the Guge kingdom.