W700xH1100mm, China

This is a Chinese new year print of the famous yang liu qing school, different from the new year print from other areas / schools, the yang liu qing prints combined the art of printing and painting in one.  Lines for the painting are first carved out from a piece of wood, black water base ink is then applied on the wood block and printed onto the paper by rubbing.  Once there is a sharp outline of the image, water base colour is then applied, giving varies tones of colour to the print.  Then a thick powder colour is used to give all the details to the painting.  The yang liu qing school began at the end of the Ming dynasty; it brought on the tradition of detail painting of the Sung dynasty and combined it with the printing technique popular in the Ming dynasty giving it an unique appearance.

This print is one print of a pair of door gods (traditional doors in China always comes in pairs), Qin Qiong, the other door will be of  Wei Chi Gong.  The legend of the 2 door gods goes like this; during the Tang dynasty an old dragon made a bet with a fortune teller and violated the law of the heaven.  As a punishment the supreme god Jade Emperor ordered Wei Zheng to have it killed at noon the next day.   Hearing the news, the old dragon went to see the Tang Emperor and begged him to help him, the Tang Emperor agreed.  The next day the Tang Emperor summon Wei Zheng to court and asked him to play a game of Chinese chess with him, hoping that if the game is long enough he will miss the noon execution.  During the long game Wei Zheng dosed off and in his dream he went to kill the dragon.  Not knowing the whole story,  the ghost of the dragon felt bitter that the Tang Emperor did not keep his words and came to haunt the court everyday.  Wei Zheng found out and send 2 generals, Qin Qiong and Wei Chi Gong, to guard the gate of the palace and this scared off the dragon.  The Tang Emperor felt bad that the 2 generals do not get a break and asked artists to make a painting of them to be put on the doors, and this seems to have the same effects, the rumor spread and now the door gods are all over China.

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