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Yangliuqing Picture Shop on Tianjin ancient cultural street
Yangliuqing Spring Festival picture, also known as Yangliuqing Spring Festival woodblock picture, is a type of woodcut painted product. It enjoys a high reputation in the folk field of China, and stands side by side with the Peach Blossom Workshop in Suzhou. It appeared during the Chongzhen period in the Ming dynasty and hit its climax in the Yongzheng, Qianlong to the beginning of Guangxu period in the Qing dynasty. Its production involves the following process: lines are first carved on a wood block, and then marked on papers with ink. After two to three times of monochrome, it's painted with with colors before going through a series of manual steps such as outlining, carving, brushing, painting, mounting, etc. Yangliuqing woodcut pictures are characterized by fine brushstrokes, beautiful characters, bright colors, rich contents, various forms, peaceful atmosphere, humorous plots, and interesting inscriptions. On June 8, 2007, Tianjin Yangliuqing Picture Society won the first Chinese Cultural Heritage Day Award issued by the Ministry of Culture. On May 9, 2010, on the opening ceremony of Tianjin Week during World Expo, as a participating project, Yangliuqing Spring Festival picture is exhibited to the world.
Yangliuqing Spring Festival pictures demonstrate people's good emotions and wishes through moral and realistic means, and are particularly characterized by themes such as current events, social customs and historical stories directly reflecting the society in each period. Take the Spring Festival picture Surplus over the Years for example. The doll on the picture has a "baby's face, Buddha's body, with a stage gesture and martial manner", hugging a catfish and holding a lotus in hand. Homonymically, it implies rich living and has become a classic in New Year pictures, spreading far and wide ever since. These pictures have a wide range of content, such as historical stories, myths and legends, characters in traditional Chinese operas, social customs, landscapes and flowers and birds, and especially themes closely related to people's lives, as well as topics of current news. They are not only rich in artistic appreciation, but also possess research value for precious historical resources. Until nowadays, the fine traditions of combining realism and romanticism, represented by these outstanding works, form the mainstream characteristics of the art of Yangliuqing Spring Festival picture. Its artistic features are manifold, so are the forming conditions, one of which is the production method, quite remarkable and outstanding.