A Fine Collection of
Ancient New Year Paintings
Yuchi Gong, Qing Dynasty,
Woodblock prints (brush – painted),
180 x 125 cm
–from the National Art Museum of China
The New Year Picture is a unique art form in China that boasts a long history and far-reaching influence. Despite the fact that New Year paintings cover a wide range of themes, they all seem to bring the message of good luck, festival atmosphere, praise of traditional Chinese virtues and worship of gods, especially those of fortune, prosperity and longevity.
During the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), the Chinese decorate their homes with many New Year Pictures, the best of which can be found in Yangliuqing, a town located in North China’s Tianjin. Yangliuqing is an old timer in making of New Year Paintings with a long history as early as in late of Ming Dynasty, and has reached its prime in Qing Dynasty when the works were sold to various regions over the country. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Yangliuqing had developed traffic, bustling market and Beautiful scenery, which make it the “Suzhou and Hangzhou” in the north. The richness of sub-genres and varieties of the folk art itself attracted many ancient intellectuals to participate in the creation of New Year pictures by contributing sketches of figures, landscapes, birds and flowers that were more refined than most of those produced by craftsmen of Yangliuqing pictures who only received training in the folk art’s skills. All of these make Yangliuqing New Year paintings well known for their vivid colors, dramatic designs, radiant festive vibe, greatly varied themes and exquisite block printings.
In collaboration with the National Art Museum of China , China Cultural Centre in Sydney is holding an online exhibition presenting 20 New Year paintings of Yangliuqing. It aims to showcase the unique charm of Chinese traditional culture and strengthen artistic exchanges between Australia and China. Rooted in the ordinary and enlivened in life, the various styles and features of these ancient prints show the beauty and diversity of China’s cultural heritage and this exhibition pays homage to the well wishes of the Spring Festival with an abundance of blessings for the new year ahead.