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The crafts of Mianzhu New Year paintings

Updated: 2022-09-21 15:29 ( chinadaily.com.cn )
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A Mianzhu New Year painting. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

In China, to celebrate Lunar New Year, placing New Year paintings (nianhua in Chinese) on doors is a time-honored tradition to invite heavenly blessings and ward off disasters and evil spirits.

People usually post martial door gods (menshen in Chinese) on the main door to exorcise demons. On the doors inside the house, they like putting up the literary door gods or civic door gods to bring an auspicious year of promotion and good fortune. They may also enjoy hanging the image of a chubby baby as it symbolizes longevity and fertility.

Some customs are widely observed when posting the door gods. For example, one will clean the house and then post the paintings after supper. Also, the door gods always come in pairs facing each other. It is considered bad luck to place the figures back-to-back.

The making process of Mianzhu New Year painting from Sichuan province includes drawing, applying oil, carving, inking, printing, marking inked lines and hand coloring. 

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