Yangliuqing New Year Wood-block Prints 杨柳青木版年画

Time: 2006
Category: Folk Art
Region: Tianjin municipality
Ref. No.: Ⅶ-1
Nominating unit[s]: Tianjin municipality
Among the large number of folk arts in Tianjin, Yangliuqing New Year wood-block prints are probably the most representative.
Yangliuqing New Year wood-block prints have their origin in Yangliuqing, an ancient town with a history of over one thousand years. During Emperor Yongle’s Reign of the Ming Dynasty, Yangliuqing became an important distribution center for products from both the north and south of China, with a booming economy resulting from the opening of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal and the rise of the water grain transport in Tianjin. Wood-block prints masters began to move to the Town of Yangliuqing from surrounding areas to start businesses. The outskirts of the town happened to be famous for their pyrus betulaefolia bge, a tree with wood suitable for carving. With processes and materials available, Yangliuqing New Year wood-block prints thrived, and finally reached their golden age as the whole town and its surrounding villages witnessed an upsurge in which all families were excellently skilled in the art of dyeing and painting.
Due to historical reasons, this old art form fell into decline and suffered the most during the Sino-Japanese War, when it almost ceased to exist. Since 1949, the PRC’s government has committed to several rescue, collection, excavation and sorting operations, leading to a revival of the rare art.
Yangliuqing New Year wood-block prints feature a variety of subjects, rich content, full composition, and auspicious connotations, catering to different tastes. It made its ascent to being one of the most famous New Year painting styles as a result of using a combination of carving and painting techniques to create exquisite engravings, delicate pictures, vivid characters and elegant colors,. As a typical Chinese New Year printing art, it has played an important role in the development of Chinese folk culture and Tianjin’s. The excavation, rescue and protection of Yangliuqing New Year wood-block prints is significant to the study of the development of the folk cultures of both Tianjin and northern China, and even the development of fine art across China.

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