Willows in Spring Breeze – NAMOC Collected Yangliuqing Ancient Edition New Year Painting Exhibition unveiled in NAMOC
“New Year Paintings, as colorful flowers bursting into bloom in the art garden, are indispensable parts of the national culture. Today, in an era of chasing dreams, we have rich soil, warm sunshine and fresh air to cultivate fairy primroses for the spring of literature and art,” said NAMOC curator Wu Weishan. Wu went on to say that NAMOC had extensive folk art collections. The over 100 pieces of Yangliuqing Ancient Edition New Year paintings were selected from the NAMOC collection activation series. They were created from the reign of Emperor Kangxi of Qing Dynasty to the late Qing and early Republic of China period. Most works came from collection or donation of Wang Shucun, late folk fine arts historian and New Year Paintings collector. Many were the only copies extant or painting texts, thus highly valuable. The exhibition gave a full view of them in terms of theme, function and craft, fully presenting the artistic style of Yangliuqing New Year Paintings as well as the traditional modes of thinking and aesthetic conception contained in traditional New Year paintings.
Yangliuqing New Year Paintings stemmed from the middle and late periods of the Ming Dynasty. They were gradually improved in the early period of the Qing Dynasty, and reached the height of splendor in the middle and late periods of Qing Dynasty. They shaped a spectacular scene in the golden age that “every household is good at drawing paintings” in an area centering around Yangliuqing Town, covering 36 villages in the neighborhood. During the Ming and Qing periods, Yangliuqing served as a hub for water transport, with convenient transportation facilities, numerous shops and picturesque scenes. It was hence known as “Suzhou and Hangzhou” in the north. Yangliuqing New Year Paintings grew up and developed in such a rich environment. They became best sellers in the capital city with distinct themes and styles, presenting vivid civil culture features and aesthetic tastes. In the long-range development process, Yangliuqing New Year Paintings developed characteristic techniques integrating printing and painting that maintained the taste of traditional wood engraving New Year paintings, while imbued with the exquisite and lively characteristics of hand painting works, and developed Yangliuqing New Year Painting style differing from other places of production.