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An artist's lifelong devotion to Chinese New Year paintings

Updated: 2018-02-03 16:54:21

( Xinhua )

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Being the 19th generation of the painting family, Yang is now working with a dozen experienced craftsmen, and makes around 150,000 New Year paintings every year, which are not only sold in China, but also in countries such as the United States, Singapore and Japan.

For him, the next thing to do is to find qualified successors to make sure the skills are passed to younger generations.

"There are now dozens of local workshops making woodblock paintings," Yang says. "However, compared with the prime time 200 years ago, which had around 300 workshops, the number has declined drastically."

Besides holding exhibitions and seminars home and abroad, Yang has also taken several apprentices, among whom is his elder son Yang Fujiang, who has carved for 42 years.

"I had thought about finding another job when I was young," the young Yang says. "However, my father told me about the status quo of woodblock paintings. As his son, I felt the responsibility on my shoulders."

His father was very strict.

"I work eight to nine hours per day," the young Yang says.

To the Yang family, although modern printing techniques have boosted efficiency, the traditional craft and the spirit are beyond comparison.

"The craft is sacred to me," says Yang Luoshu.

Nevertheless, the old Yang realizes that something must be changed to ensure handmade New Year paintings live on.

"We are now thinking about development, allowing the prints to be more creative," he says.

Apart from making wall calendars and thread-bound booklets, they have also put local stories in their work.

"We have dug out traditional fairy tales and put them in our paintings, so that our Chinese culture could also be appreciated," the father said.

"The craft will live on. Of that I'm pretty sure," says the son.

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