As one of the important origins of Lingnan culture, Foshan has many cultural symbols. The intangible cultural heritages in Foshan like the famous Cantonese opera, paper cutting, wood engraving pictures, Xiangyun Silk still shine brightly with the preservation of generations of inheritors after so many years.
From this January, Foshan News Network will present a new series of Foshan ICH • Charming Lingnan. Foshan national intangible cultural heritages will be introduced to people all over the world through pictures and English descriptions, displaying the charm of traditional Foshan culture.
In May, 2006, Foshan woodcut New Year picture was listed as the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage.
The God of Door with Knifes is popular among people.
Foshan woodcut New Year picture has the common characteristics as other folk New Year pictures in Tianjin Yangliuqing Town, Jiangsu Taohuawu Town, Sichuan Mianzhu Town and Shandong Weifang Town. In terms of themes, there are mainly auspicious patterns, evil spirits exorcism, folk customs, Chinese opera stories, historical novels, etc. In terms of functions, it is mainly used to decorate houses and create festive atmosphere, expressing people’s best wishes to ring out the old year and ring in the New Year.
The Boys with Plum Blossom
Foshan woodcut New Year picture is divided into three types, hand drawing, wood printing and wood color filling. It features in rough lines, bright colors, concise form, full composition and strong decoration with delicate Guang-fu cultural artistic characteristics.
The pattern rendered by smooth golden and silver lines on people’s clothes is called “writing patterns”, full of folk pictures characteristicsl, which is a distinguishing feature of Foshan New Year pictures.
Process plate of Foshan woodcut New Year picture
Foshan woodcut New Year picture industry was prosperous from the Qing Dynasty to the Republic of China. In “Xi Xiang”, Foshan, now Pujun South Road, there were a dozens of different New Year picture workshops, selling products to Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan and even Southeast Asia.
The prosperity lasted till 1960s. Then, New Year woodcut picture industry headed towards a decline. Nowadays, the Feng is the only family workshop left to produce and inherit wood engraving pictures.
Since 12 years old, Feng Bingtang started to learn the engraving and printing techniques from his father. He is a rare inheritor nowadays who can finish all the artistry.
“It takes five to six years to learn the basic engraving technique, and ten years to gain market recognition. Artistry like face engraving and writing patterns depends on personal comprehension. I have worked on this for more than 60 years, but I didn’t make it better until recent years.” Feng said.
Feng Bingtang is making wood engraving pictures.
Source: Sina Culture, Foshan Daily, Foshan Zumiao Museum, Foshan Culture