Mianzhu New Year Pictures of Sichuan

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the Mianzhu New Year Pictures

Mianzhu New Year Pictures (绵竹年画) have made Mianzhu famous, a city well known in China for its bamboo paper. Besides adjoining Chengdu, which is famous for engraving works, Mianzhu offered advanced technology and material conditions for the development of New Year Pictures.

It was said that more than 300 New Year Picture workshops emerged in its heyday. The techniques of Mianzhu New Year Pictures may be divided into two different varieties. The first one belongs to colored drawing, and the second to block-print rubbings. The former stresses techniques of both carving and drawing, with features of vivid colors and unaffected creations. Artisans usually carve the ink lines first, then trace them with ink, and paint the colors last. They cover a great variety of subjects, the most distinctive including Door Gods, cute babies and beauties as well as folklore. The latter specialized in woodcut and ink prints. With a sensible and simple style, its subject matter included images of folk deities, folklore, master calligraphy as well as paintings, and pictures of cultivation and weaving, etc. In the past, artisans living in Mianzhu usually used surplus materials to make some private works for extra earnings. Unrestrained works with bold but concise styles, vigorous images and fluid drawings, such as painted door pictures, usually sold at night fairs, were the most characteristic of Mianzhu.