A phrase of blessing, 福壽無疆 “Fu Shou Wu Jiang”, good fortune and longevity without limit.
On the print are 4 fruits (from right to left); the Buddha’s hand fruit, the peach, large fruit and the pomegranate, they are also symbol of blessings.
Buddha’s Hand Fruit 佛手 – the fortune hand 福手 as they share the same pronounciation “Fu Shou”.
Longevity Peach 壽桃- the magical peaches that produce longevity.
Large Fruit 碩果- the rare individual that made large achievements.
Pomegranate 石榴 – the many seeds of the pomegranate symbolizes many sons.
This new year print was from the Ping Yang school which started print making since the Sung dynasty. This print is by one of the famous print shop 興昌畫店 in Lin Fin Town.
There are different new year print for different blessings, for fertility, longevity, health, prosperity, etc. This particular one is for the livestock and the working cart; sitting in the middle the guy with 3 eyes is Hua Guang, one of the 4 Taoist Saints, a powerful warrior against evils. On both sides of him are 2 banners, 牛馬平安 (blessing to the ox and horses), 日進斗金 (daily income of 100g of gold).
This is a Wei Fong school wood block print.
The Wei Fong school of the Shan Dong province began in the late Ming dynasty and flourished in the Qing dynasty. Known for the bold composition and the reflection of life with humor. The wooden stencil of this print was carved by the artisan Zhao Lan Peng of the Wei Fong New Year Print Studio in the 80s.
The subject of the print is Guan Yu, the red face general of the 3 Kingdom period. In the novel, “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”, General Guan took on loyal and fearless character which is worshipped by the police and the triads alike.
This Ukiyo-e print two kōshi-jōro (high ranking courtesan) contemplating on a writing a letter.
Would it be a letter to home, a lover or a desirable client?
The movie Sukuran describes life inside Yoshiwara as a courtesan, the rivalry, survival and love.
This Yang Liu Qing wood block print depicts a scene of the Duan Wu Festival where the dragon boat race is taking place. From the costume, it would be a time of the Republic of China period, the cue hairstyle has gone, the appearance of western style hats.
The dragon boat race began as a rescue operation of the respected Qu Yuan who leaped into the river to kill himself. Fisherman gathered ringing gongs to scare the fish away, feeding them zong so they will not harm him. Hundreds of years later, it came a festival that attracted even the Emperors would participate viewing the race.
Today is 5th of lunar May, and you have probably feasted on the traditional dumpling (zong) over the past few days. The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival will take place on this weekend and this year it have the setting of the Victoria Harbour. Click here for more details.
This is a new year print of (Hu) San Tai Yi 胡三太爷, one of the home protectors worshiped in the villages in the North East China. The most famous ones are saint Hu (胡) and Huang (黄), both Hu and Huang is a common Chinese surname, it is however referring to two animals the fox (狐狸) “Hu Li” and the weasel (黄鼬) “Huang You”. Out of respect, their real identity is disguised and humanized. San Tai Yi, is the most powerful home protector, he is the brother of the legendary Nine Tails Fox Goddess who helped Yu the Great to calm the floods in prehistoric China (2200BC).
This is an ukiyo-e print depicting a courtesan of Yoshiwara playing a game of go (published 1910s)
In the Edo period, the Yoshiwara area (now the modern Asakusa of Tokyo) was the only district of pleasure that was licensed. Unlike other red light districts in the world, courtesans are trained to be cultured, to be the ideal companion; waka poetry, the game of go, chess, playing cards, calligraphy, ikebana, tea ceremony, incense ceremony and other things.
This new year print is normally found in the village schools for the worship of Confucius.
Confucius is sitting in the middle holding a gui, an element of statue. On the two sides are the 4 sages, notable Confuciusm figures; Yan Hui (顏回), Zi Si (子思), Zeng Zi (曾子) and Mencius (孟子). Apart from Mencius, the other 3 are the favorite student of Confucius. Mencius was born about 100 years after the death of Confucius and was a student of Confucius’s grandson. Mencius was expanding Confucius’s philosophy.
As in the wood block print, the 4 sages are normally seen along side with Confucius in the temples of Confucius.
There is a believe that there are gods living in the mountain, the woods and the streams; to ensure a safe journey, one would worship these gods before entering the mountain or travelling by boat.
In this wood block print, on the right is the mountain god, on the left his wife, around them their guards and maids.
A Taoist wood block print entitled “Heaven Earth Dragon Carriage”.
On the left of the print is Yuan Shi Tian Zun, the supreme Taoist deity, together with Tai Shang Lao Jun and Ling Boa Tian Zun formed the 3 Pure Ones. On the right of the print is the Jade Emperor, the God who creates the system of nature and the universe. Jade Emperor sits inside his dragon carriage and around them the 4 guards; Wang Ling Tian Jun, Pu Hua Tian Jun, General Li, Marshal Zhao. This new year print is used to bless of journey in vehicles, it is also used on the wedding day after the bride was picked up by the groom’s car, the couple would need to thank the gods for providing a safe journey.