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Wood Block New Year of Taohuawu

Wood Block New Year of Taohuawu

Wood block New Year pictures of Taohuawu was originated from Ming Dynasty. There were tens of pictures workshops in the areas of Taohuau of Qili Shantang and Changmennei, Suzhou city. Taohuawu was famous because millions of pictures could produces at the time.

Wood block New Year pictures reached their zenith during the years of Empire Yongzheng and Qianlong, Qing Dynasty. During the most prosperous period, there were pictures workshops owned by Zhang Xingju, Zhang Wenju, Wei Hongtai, Lv Yunlin, Lu Fushun, Lu Jiashun, Mo Xiangzhai, Zhang Zai, Tai Yuan, Zhang Lin and Ji Jixiang. Later on, some other influential workshops also emerged like that of Wang Rongxing, Chen Tongshen, Chen Tongxing, Wu Jinzeng, Wu Taiyuan and Hong Yunge. They are famous in Jiangsu, Shanghai and Zhejiang provinces and even Hubei, Henan and Shandong provinces, etc. In addition, they even made a great influence to abroad pictures like Japanese Ukiyo-e pictures. Also in Britain, France, Russia and Germany, there are collections of wood block New Year pictures of Taohuawu Wood block.  

New Year pictures fall into three categories that are as follows: drawing, engraving and printing. In the long-term creation and production, technical crafts men invented unique experiences, forming a full set of particular manufacture procedures.  

Wood block New Year pictures can be divided into five procedures that include drawing, block-engraving, printing, mounting a picture and Kaixiang. To block-engraving, it can fall into four parts, particularly, sampling, engraving, eliminating redundancy of bottom and revising. In the whole processing, many instruments will be used. Printing of separate colors also has a set of procedures.  

Wood block New Year pictures of Taohuawu inherited block printing techniques of Song Dynasty, together with artificial colors and colorful blocks. The prevalent types are door pictures, lobby pictures and screen pictures and subjects are major in praying for happiness, driving off evil, custom and opera story. 

Over the 30 years, with the changing of people’s living standards, wood block New Year pictures are declining in practical function but increasing in appreciation. The traditional techniques are also affected by the marketing and the development of modern printing technology also makes a great shocking to traditional artificial technologies. Under this circumstance, workshops of Taohuwu are becoming less  Moreover, traditional engraving technology and dyeing are hard to replicate since they were passed down orally to generations.