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    A Special Exhibition of Chinese Wood-Block New Year Pictures and Culture

     Arts and Culture

    On December 15, 2019, a Special Exhibition of Chinese Wood-block New Year Pictures and Culture “Spring Festival with Paintings 2020” opened up in the Zheng Dong Library at Tianjin University’s Peiyangyuan Campus, which will continue until next spring. Being held by the Feng Jicai Research Institute of Literature and Art, this event employs various ways such as special exhibitions, keynote reports, live displays, and interactive exchanges to help young people get closer to the traditional culture and traditional life. With more than a month to go before the Spring Festival, the teachers and students already feel the atmosphere of the Chinese New Year in advance.

    Some of the artwork in display at Zhengdong Library.

    As soon as the attendees enter the Zheng Dong Library, two pairs of giant door gods close to the door like welcoming them into the flourishing exhibition hall with Chinese cultural characteristics. Paintings of more than 50 types in 7 categories hanging on the wall are all representative works of different periods throughout China. The New Year pictures, paper cutouts, lanterns and auspicious patterns themed the "Mouse Wedding" all create an atmosphere of the traditional “Year of Mouse” according to the Chinese Zodiac. Documents related to the scene of Chinese New Year such as classic books, old photos, and ancient paintings, together with the academic achievements of the Chinese Wood-Block New Year Pictures Research Center of Feng Jicai Research Institute of Literature and Art are also in display. The fascinating exhibits are eye-opening for both teachers and students. With the vivid interpreting of the teachers from Feng Jicai Research Institute, visitors better understood the art and culture behind these paintings. Moreover, the organizer has also selected dozens of auspicious symbols from a large number of ancient New Year pictures to form an auspicious space, where students actively participated in guessing the meaning of these symbols to win beautiful New Year postcards.

    Live Chinese Wood-block New Year Pictures making.

    Live calligraphy showing.

    Mr Feng Jicai tours the gallery and shares his thoughts with the attendees. 

    On the opening day, the successors of Tianjin Yangliuqing New Year Pictures including Huo Xiuying, Huo Qingshun, Huo Qingyou, and the heir to Tianjin Paper-cut Xu Zhiqi were invited to demonstrate their superb skills on the spot. Students came forward to communicate with them, and learned the New Year picture-painting and paper-cutting. Meanwhile, the members from XinZhu Painting and Calligraphy Society of Tianjin University wrote Spring couplets on site. Yuan Hongqi, the former director of the Department of Palace Life and Imperial Ritual of the Palace Museum, and Xiao Fang, a professor at Beijing Normal University, delivered two keynote speeches, themed "The New Year in the Palace" and "The Folk New Year", to present visitors the dinner of royal family at New Year Eve in Qing dynasty, as well as the customs of Chinese New Year.

    By: Feng Mengjiao

    Editors: Gabriela Venegas, Sun Xiaofang

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