Chinese pictures celebrate lunar New Year

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Chinese pictures celebrate lunar New Year

We may only be two weeks into 2006, but more New Year’s celebrations are around the corner as The Chinese Cultural Center in Seoul prepares for the upcoming lunar New Year on Jan. 29.
From now until the week of lunar New Year, the cultural center will be introducing a line of Yangliuqing New Year pictures ― art that is hung on the doors of homes at the beginning of the year to bring good luck and keep out bad luck.
Yangliuqing is a small town located in the western suburbs of Tianjin municipality, China. The town was home to many technicians who printed New Year pictures, which were first produced as early as the 16th century during the Ming Dynasty.
The artists that drew or printed the works are mostly unknown but their works featured the diverse folklore of the ancient town. In the pictures, every front door has a fresh coat of red paint as red symbolizes good luck and happiness. One shows a mother about to buy a lotus flower, a Chinese symbol of prosperity, from a street merchant. The woman’s daughter is standing at the doorstep watching eagerly for her mother to return with the flower in the good luck ritual.
Yangliuqing New Year pictures are filled with colorful scenes from the lives of ordinary people, and expresses their yearning for good wishes. Pomegranates and white magnolias appear often in the pictures as they symbolized wealth.
“Bats were also a symbol for wealth, because Pian fu, the Chinese word for bats, can be pronounced like Fu gu, which means wealth, said Lee Yeong-gyeol, a translator at the cultural center, as she pointed to a picture with flying bats.
Yangliuqing New Year Pictures combine woodcarving, watermarking and color painting. The subjects are usually plump women ― considered beautiful in olden times. Characters from legendary tales and mountain landscapes are also frequently used.


by Lee Min-a

The Chinese Cultural Center is located near Gyeongbokgung subway station, line no. 3, exit 7. Admission is free. The exhibition continue through Jan. 27. For more information, call (02) 733-8307.
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