Yangliuqing New Year Painting: a unique art form of Chinese folk culture

Also known as ‘paper paintings’ and ‘painted pictures’, Yangliuqing New Year Painting is a unique art form in Chinese folk culture.

The paintings are called “New Year paintings” because they are mostly posted during the traditional Chinese New Year holiday for decoration and they are also a symbol of New Year’s greetings.

New Year paintings appeared around the Tang Dynasty (618 AD- 907 AD), replacing the previous door pictures featuring gods believed to be able to protect the residents and drive away ghosts. Then in the Song Dynasty (960 AD – 1297 AD), New Year paintings were created on a considerable scale. With the advancement of printing technology, the content and forms of New Year paintings became more diversified. The development of the paintings matured in the Ming (1368 AD1644 AD) and Qing (1644 AD-1911 AD) dynasties, when the art hit its heyday. Traditional printing methods of New Year paintings include woodblock printing, stone block printing, offset printing, traditional Chinese painting, watercolor painting and sketch etc. Woodblock printed New Year paintings are the most popular ones and at the same time they are most interesting.

Yangliuqing Town of Tianjin, north China is one of the most wellknown production locations of New Year paintings. Yangliuqing New Year Painting is a main kind of folk woodblock printed picture, which is named after its production place of Yangliuqing Town. With a history of 600 years, Yangliuqing New Year Painting inherited the painting traditions of the Song and Yuan dynasties and absorbed the essences of woodblock paintings, craftworks and stage arts of the Ming dynasties. Thanks to its rich themes, elegant patterns and comely color, the Yangliuqing New Year Painting is still very popular today in north China and improving its fame around the world.

In early April 2015, an Indian media group comprising NDTV Goodtimes, Times of India and Indian Express ever visited this historical town of Yangliuqing and got first-hand experience of making New Year Painting in China.

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