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Tradition around the block

By Wang Kaihao | China Daily | Updated: 2019-01-22 07:47
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The Taohuawu woodcut picture from the reign of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) Emperor Qianlong, a booming time of the elegant folk art genre in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. It is the collection of the Taohuawu Woodcut New Year Pictures Society. [Photo provided to China Daily]

An ancient printing technique is in danger of disappearing despite efforts to revitalize it, Wang Kaihao reports in Suzhou, Jiangsu. 

Suzhou's old "peach-blossom castle" neighborhood, Taohuawu, appears at first glance to be a normal road with an exceptional name. But, as Spring Festival approaches, many elderly residents are thinking about how the area is known for producing Lunar New Year paintings that are hung on walls to bring good fortune.

Taohuawu bears witness to the city's prosperity in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, when the area hosted many printing houses.

Over 50 publishers were squeezed into the neighborhood when the industry peaked locally, during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1736-95).

Taohuawu produced more than 1 million works a year, including many that were exported from the city in Jiangsu province to Southeast Asia, Europe and Japan, where Taohuawu is believed to have greatly influenced Japanese ukiyo-e prints.

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