Search results for: "yang liu qing"

yang liu qingL1140xH660mm, China

This Yang Liu Qing print is about the story “Wenji Reurning to Han”.

Wenji, was the daughter of the scholar Cai Yong, equally well learnt she was tributed to have revived some important ancient literature that was lost during the war.  Wenji though has a rather tough life; her first husband Wei passed away and during the war she was kidnapped by the Huns tribe and made to be the queen of the Hun king.  The king treated her well, they had children and soon Wenji though missing home was well settled in Hun.

Meanwhile her father Cai Yong was jailed and died for his support of a declined politician.  The story would have ended here if  emperor Cao Cao has not suddenly missed his friend Cai Yong and thought of his daughter.  Emperor Cao requested for her return to Han, though unwilling the Hun king dared not disobey and reluctantly send the mother of his child home to Han.  Feeling the sorrow as she departed her Hun family, Wenji wrote the poem “Eighteen Stanzas for a Barbarian Reed Leaf Pipe”

Happy to see her, Emperor Cao Cao felt bad that she is all alone and without a family so he arranged for her to be wedded to an official named Dong.  Unfortunately, Dong committed some crime and received a death sentence.  Wenji fearing she will lose yet another husband went to see Cao Cao and begged for his pardon.  Moved by her action, Cao Cao ordered for Dong’s release and chatted with her about her father’s literature.  Wenji told him that all the 4000 odd books were destroyed during the war but she could still recite 400 out of the 4000. Cao Cao was excited to record the lost literature and Wenji wrote them down word for word.

Click here to see our other Yang Liu Qing prints.

Yang Liu Qing

W1150xH670mm, China

This old Yang Liu Qing print, depicted a scene from a Tang dynasty poem, 商山早行 Morning Journey At Shang Shan.


After a restless night thinking of my home town, I woke up with the hurrying bells of the inn.
The rooster crow at the frailing moon, on the frost cover bridge left the footprints of the travelers.
The down hill road is covered by wilting plants, orange flower shines out on the inn wall.
Seeing the sunrise, I thought of my dreams of ansers returning to the pond, maybe too I can see my family soon.

The people on the print, however, described another story;

人家骑马我骑驴,回头再看推车汉,比上不足 比下有余!

I ride a donkey and look up to those who ride a horse, but looking at the cart pusher I feel content.

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.

wood block printLxHmm, China

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.

wood block printW410xL690mm, China

This is a Yang Liu Qing print on the subject of “Searching for Plum Blossoms in the Snow”.  The phrase is generally used to described scholars appreciation and effort with poety.  The old man on the donkey is Meng Hao Ran, a Tang dynasty poety; he is known to have gotten his inspiration from ploughing through the snow on the  Ba Qiao Bridge in Xian.


W220xL300mm, China

There are many door gods, the most famous and the original ones are Qin Qiong and Wei Chi Gong.  The two generals have been keeping the ghosts away from the imperial court. the Tang Emperor felt sorry for their long shifts and ordered portraits to be put up on the doors to give them a well deserved break.  Click here for the full story.  Traditional Chinese doors comes in pairs and a print of the individual door god would be posted on both doors.  This particular prints has two door gods, the one with the white face on the left is Qin Qiong (門丞) and Wei Chi Gong (戶尉) is on the right, this print is made for single door.

The four words on the print “門丞戶尉” refers to the two door gods, but funny enough with the four words mixed up as “門尉戶丞” it became a Taoist spell for healing the sick.  The procedure apparently goes like this (please don’t try this at home);

take a rooster with lush feathers,
hold a knife with your right hand and the rooster on the left,
go to the house of the sick,
inside of the house take 3 steps and on each step say the spell,
(門尉戶丞, so and so’s sickness, expel at once, promptly take the order)
then put the head of the rooster in the mouth of the patient 3 times,
take the knife and draw blood from the rooster’s comb,
mixed the blood with 100ml of white spirit for the patient to drink.

… if the patient was not very sick before … he probably would be now …

L1200xH700mm, China

This is a Yang Liu Qing wood block print portraying the story of the fearless Song dynasty warrior Di Qing (2nd left).  The story has it that Di Qing and Liu Qing (1st left) of North Song was send by the Emperor to pacify the uprising to the west of the country.  Unfortunately the army got lost and ended up in a wrong country, Dan Dan.  There, Di Qing met the Dan Dan princess (3rd right) who fell in love with his looks.  She lured him into the palace and asked for him to surrender and to marry her.  Unwillingly, Di Qing wedded the princess but only thinking about escaping to defend his home land.  The princess was upset that her newly wedded husband has departed without a word and set off after him, Di Qing explained about his duty and promised to return after his task.  Like most plots, the hero forgot about the princess when he returned home with victory and never returned to Dan Dan.  This time the princess was furious and led an army to attack Song, general Yang Zong Bao (center character) was no match with the princess and instructed Di Qing to deal with the princess.  When the couple met, of course they forgot all about fighting and lived happily ever after …

Here is the opera version of the same story

W900xH1040mm, Hong Kong

This is a modern door god design by my father, this is a silk screen print on a cloth, the traditional door gods are wood block print to be posted on the doors to offer blessing and protection to the household.

One of the legend for the origin of the door god goes like this; according to the Qin geographical documentation “Shan Hai Jing”, in midst of the ocean there is a mountain, there stood a giant peach tree which spread over 3000 miles.  At the north east is the door to the dark world where the ghosts go in and out. Over this door stood 2 gods – Shen Shu and Yu Lv, their duty is to censor the good and the bad ghosts, the evil ghosts will be thrown down the mountain to feed tiger.  The character here is Yu Lv,  brother of the Shen Shu, the pair are the legendary ghost busters.

L1200xH700mm, China

For those of you who has followed the recent historical comedy soap on TVB, here is a new year print from the yang liu qing school depicting the same story (minus the satire).  This story is set in the San Gou period, it was a time when China was divided into 3 separate kingdoms , a time after the corrupted East Han dynasty, warring period that lasted for almost 100 years.

Briefly the 3 kingdoms are;
WEI – led by East Han chancellor Cao Cao, adviser Sima Yi
WU – led by Sun Quan, adviser Zhou Yu
SHU – led by Liu Bei, general Guan Yu, Zhang Fei and Zhao Yun, adviser Zhu Ge Liang

The Return to Jing Zhou

Sun Quan and Zhou Yu (WU) set up a plan to get Liu Bei (SHU) to hand over his strong hold Jing Zhou.  Sun Quan has a beautiful sister, he proposed to Liu Bei for a marriage to his sister, a union of the 2 kingdoms. Liu Bei in return would have to go to WU for the wedding.  This is a proposal Liu Bei cannot lightly turn down for the sake of his kingdom.  Sun Quan however has no real intention of marrying his sister to his enemy, he would wanted to capture Liu Bei and and force him to hand over his kingdom.  Luckily before Liu Bei’s departure, his wizard adviser Zhu Ge Liang see through the trick and handed 3 notes to Zhao Yun and asked him to escort Liu Bei to Wu.  When Liu Bei crossed to Wu he opened the first note, it asked Liu Bei to visit the father in law of Sun Quan.  Impressed by Liu Bei and thinking that a union of the 2 kingdoms is a good idea from Sun Quan, the in law asked for Sun Quan’s mother for her approval for the marriage.  The empress dowager agreed and the marriage went ahead.  Sun Quan found out he has lost his sister, set out to detained Liu Bei in Wu.  Liu Bei opened the second note, it asked for a faked report that Jing Zhou was being attacked by now their common enemy Cao Cao (WEI).  Having a great excuse, Liu Bei together with his newly married wife and his men left Wu for Jing Zhou.  Sun Quan found out and had his general went after them.  Liu Bei then opened his third note, in the note it asked him to leave the defense to his wife.  Now in love with Liu Bei, the princess gave the general a hard time and refused to return to Wu.  When Liu Bei returned to Jing Zhou, Sun Quan’s army was confronted by Liu Bei’s general Zhang Fei and badly defeated.

Here goes the idiom, “lost the lady and  the army” (making double lost without any gain)

In this yang liu qing school print, we have from the left Liu Bei, Zhao Yun, maid 1, Princess Quan, maid 2, Guan Yu and lastly Zhang Fei

The story was also a very known script for the Beijing opera, here is a part of the opera.  The opera singers were the master of masters, the leading dan role was performed by Mr. Mei Lan Fang (in the past all roles are played by male artists).

L150xW110mm, China

The opera character of this paper cutout is Wei Chi Gong of the Siu dynasty who was persuaded to defect from Siu to join the first Tang empire by the Tang emperor.  The story of the opera begins when Wei was still a general of the Siu empire whom went on war with the Tang, not only did he won, he disarmed a Tang general Yuan.  This general was humiliated and when Wei join the Tang empire, he made up excuses to have Wei killed, luckily the plan failed.  Years later, when the Tang emperor was losing his war, general Yuan left him and ran for his life.  Luckily Wei arrived to save the day.  This is Wei story in the opera but perhaps you know him as the Chinese door god, but that’s another story…