This past week New Century took us to culture center where we got the chance to observe classic Chinese artwork being made. Not only did we get to watch some professionals paint, but we also got to hear the stories behind each of the paintings. From these stories, I learned the real meaning behind several symbols that I often see in Chinese paintings. For example, one can often spot a fish because the Chinese word for fish sounds like part of the Chinese word for prosperous. My favorite painting depicted four children pulling a large carrot out of the ground together and read “齐心协力”, which essentially means teamwork.
On top of this, we also got the chance to learn about woodblock printing and even try it out for ourselves. Using a woodblock that depicted an ancient Chinese market, we first coated it with a layer of black ink, and then pressed the image onto a large sheet of paper to produce our own piece of art. The image was far more detailed than I had originally imagined, and we then got to watch as the teacher skillfully began to paint the outline we had just made, giving it life. Overall, I enjoyed how the subtleties and details of these Chinese paintings often had profound meaning and made me appreciate even more the richness of Chinese culture. —–Austin
Last week some teachers and students went to a factory. This factory makes the so-called New Year pictures. These are a kind of pictures that Chinese people will put on the wall during Spring Festival. In the pictures there are a lot of things that represent, or are related to, happiness. For example, fish, cranes, boys and lotus. At that factory we were able to see how these pictures are made. They use a wooden block in which a picture is carved. Then they use a brush to put ink on the carved picture. After that they put paper on the wooden block and the picture will last on the paper. In this way they can make a lot of pictures in a short time. Then there are several people who are busy colouring the pictures.
For us foreigners it was interesting to know how these very famous New Year pictures are made. —Christel