The story appears on

Page B2

April 1, 2011

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature

Main types of New Year's prints

CHINESE Lunar New Year's prints first appeared during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) when woodblock printing developed. The pictures reached their height of skill and imagination during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

During the Spring Festival, villagers traditionally paste New Year's pictures with auspicious scenes on front doors, window frames and clay ovens in the kitchen. They express prayers for health, good luck, blessings from the gods and a bumper harvest.

China has four main types of New Year's woodblock pictures. They are Taohuawu in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, Weifang in Shandong Province, Yangliuqing in Tianjin Municipality and Mianzhu in Sichuan Province. Provinces such as Fujian, Shanxi, Zhejiang and Hebei are also known for their New Year's prints.

They feature various subjects, such as flowers, birds, golden roosters, oxen, chubby twin boys and Chinese gods.

Since the printing technique developed in rural areas, the pictures are mostly lively scenes created with bold, bright colors and straight lines.

However, this kind of folk art is gradually fading in the countryside, and in cities few people put up these pictures.

With a highly developed paper-making industry in ancient times, Mianzhu in Sichuan Province became a famous production center. The first artists painted frescoes in temples and palaces. When they returned to their hometowns after retiring, they started creating New Year's pictures.

Mianzhu pictures are balanced and symmetrical, the colors are bright and simple; red often dominates.

Tianjin's Yangliuqing New Year's pictures date back around 300 years. More than a dozen steps are required to complete one picture, all by hand.

Today Yangliuqing pictures are famous worldwide and exhibitions have been held in Europe and Asia.

Taohuawu pictures are popular in south China. Red, yellow, blue, green and purple are the main colors. Historic scenes are typically depicted, such as Wu Song fighting a tiger; the four great Chinese beauties and the story of love between scholar Xu Xian and the white snake goddess. Suzhou town scenes and village farming are other subjects.

Weifang New Year's pictures from Shandong Province feature strong lines and bold colors. They are charming but not as detailed as the other three styles. The major subjects are daily life and folk customs.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend