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Fengjing a peaceful artists' colony
Updated: 2004-11-15 09:54

At first sight, Fengjing is nothing more than a typical water town.

With a history of more than 1,500 years, the ancient town was once a key connection between Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.

Fengjing a peaceful artists' colony
A general picture of Fengjing. [File photo/]

Wooden houses, standing row upon row alongside the bank, look exactly like boats berthed on the water.

Real boats and stone bridges, which for a long time have been the main traffic tools for the locals, are scattered around the small township.

Together they form a harmonious picture of "tiny bridges, sparkling streams and peaceful families," an ideal setting for traditional Chinese ink paintings.

Residents' daily life in the newly opened scenic spot remains uninterrupted by the influx of travelers.

On a recent warm afternoon, sitting in the open air, men were concentrating on playing chess while women were chatting happily with each other.

This makes it difficult for people to relate the quiet township to the birthplace of many famous contemporary Chinese artists.

Ding cong (1916 -), one of the country's best cartoonists, is a native son of the town.
A museum has been set up for the director of the Cartoon Committee of the Chinese Artists' Association to exhibit Ding's works.

Ding is known for his black-humor cartoons that satirize politics and society.

He has also drawn illustrations for books and portraits for various celebrities, including famous writers, actors and actresses, vividly reflecting each person's character.
Ding learned how to paint from his father, who is considered the pioneer of China's cartoon industry.

Ever since he started publishing cartoons at the age of 17, Ding has never stopped creating.
On display at the museum are pictures of Ding and some of his famous sarcastic works, illustrations and portraits.

A reading room has recently been added to the museum housing nearly 2,000 books from Ding's personal collection.

Not far away from the museum is the former residence of Cheng Shifa (1921 -), an internationally acclaimed painter, who is renowned for his watercolor paintings and comic strips.

A wooden board at the entrance of the house tells visitors that both Cheng's father and grandfather were famous doctors in the town.

After the recent renovation of the house, Cheng has brought some of his representative works back to his hometown.

Also on display are some old furniture and other articles that Cheng once used.

The town is also known as the birthplace of the famed Jinshan Peasant Painting, which has won praise for its creative designs and bright colors that vividly represent the everyday life of the working people.

In the town, a four-generation family, surnamed Chen, is well-known for their skills in the art.

During the past 40 years, the family, from the 82-year-old grandmother to the 10-year-old grandson, have created more than 700 paintings.

Their paintings have been exhibited throughout the world including the United States, France and Japan.

Once the family made a 25-meter-long picture scroll describing the life of more than 1,500 farmers.

They have also opened a store on the town's main street, in which people can find their works and other folk artworks as well as watch them painting.