Chinese folk artists dedicated to traditional
New Year painting craft in Sichuan
Web Editor:International Daily
A group of Chinese folk painters have been passing down a traditional craft of New Year painting generation by generation, leading an idyll life in the fairy suburbs of cities of southwest China's Sichuan Province.During the nonagricultural season, some villagers in Sichuan will start organizing workshops of New Year painting and picking up their paintbrushes with subtle skills acquired through years of practice and self-improvement.Mianzhu New Year painting, a member of the main four representative New Year paintings of China, is a type of folk woodblock picture exclusively produced in the county-level city of Mianzhu in Sichuan Province. It was listed as a member of China's intangible cultural heritage in 2002.The Mianzhu New Year painting distinguishes itself with several featured techniques from its three counterparts, respectively the Yangliuqing New Year painting originated in Tianjin Municipality, Shandong Province's Yangjiabu New Year painting, and the Taohuawu New Year painting of Suzhou City in Jiangsu Province.And the craft has standing firmly for hundreds of years, backed by the ancestral wisdom permeating in each step of its processing."It has not only been the mineral and plant pigments but also some other materials we use that differentiates the Mianzhu New Year paintings from other woodblock New Year paintings, which is to say, the medium of the painting plays an important role. The creation procedures of Mianzhu New Year painting include drafting, carving, ink printing and color applying. So the creation process starts with sketching on the paper, then putting this paper on a wooden board and copy-carving the lines out, and finally doing the printing," said Jia Jun, an inheritor of the Mianzhu New Year painting craft.The Mianzhu New Year painting originated at the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (1616-1911), which flourished in the Guangxu Period (1875-1908) of the Qing Dynasty.And it has generated various subject matters on the genre during the long-term development, some of which still meet the taste of modern people nowadays."Among the various themes of New Year paintings, the baby figures represent happiness and auspiciousness, so people particularly adore this kind of cute images," said Jia.Walking closely with the time, cultural inheritors in Mianzhu have been constantly exploring new patterns of this art creation. They take the advantage of Mianzhu's prosperous liquor industry to recreate on empty bottles of Chinese Baijiu (distilled spirits).By coloring up the bottles the with techniques of New Year painting, the Mianzhu craftsmen turn the wastes (empty liquor bottles) into brand new art pieces.