Shandong Culture

Tai'an traditional New Year's woodprints

( Updated: 2017-02-14

New Year's pictures (nianhua) are often used as decorations during the Spring Festival and once could be regularly seen throughout China. They are usually placed on doors or walls to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck to families.

The New Year's woodprint style has waned in popularity in modern times, but a few workshops still remain with local government support.

Xu Jiazhuang woodcut nianhua, a municipal-level intangible cultural heritage of Tai'an, remain popular and in high demand among local residents as Spring Festival decoration.

Wang Lianyang is the sixth-generation inheritor of Xu Jiazhuang woodcut nianhua, and his family shares a history of more than 200 years producing woodcuttings.

Wang can print up to 500 pieces of woodcut nianhua per day, which still leaves him in short supply before the Chinese New Year. "Every year the eleventh and twelfth lunar months are the busiest time for me," says Wang.

Nowadays most of the nianhua in domestic market are made by printing machines with brighter colors at a cheaper price, but Wang sticks to traditional handicraft. In his words, "A master craftsman's abilities cannot be defined by computer algorithms, and traditional woodcut nianhua is fundamental to our culture. It should be passed on from generation to generation."

Tai'an traditional New Year's woodprints

Gods of Wealth, a nianhua created by Wang Lianyang. [Photo/]

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