Longhui Tantou Wooden New Year Paintings

As the only piece of painting handwork watermarked, Tantou wooden New Year painting has become an independent school for its full-bodied characteristics of ancient southern Chu State (now in Hubei, Hunan, and other places). Located in the southeast of Longhui County, Hunan Province, Tantou Town has simple, pure and unique folk customs. The handicraft industry of the town is advanced with clear-cut division, where paper-making villages, engraving villages, lanes for colored paper, stained paper, and sunscreen cream business, and New Year painting street once existed.

According to Annals of Longhui County, Tantou wooden New Year painting boasts a history of over three hundred years, with its production in the early 20th century at its best. The town was titled "Home of China's modern folk paintings" by the Ministry of Culture of the PRC in 1984, and the painting was awarded with "Silver Prize of China's Fine Arts" by the Ministry of Culture in 1994.

A completed production process has come into being in the town ranging from paper making to finished products, which is rare in the field of New Year painting making in China. Traditional Tantou wooden New Year paintings consist of three major types concerning door-god portraits, auspicious subjects, and stories in drama, with more than 40 varieties. Some processes of the painting production such as powder brushing are unique to Tantou Town. Kailian (a girl at the time of getting married changing the hair style, and clearing off the fine hair on the face and neck and trim the hair on the temples) also differs from other kinds of New Year paintings. The most difficulty of the plate making lies in the patch board engraving.

Now, Tantou Wooden New Year Paintings have been treasured by large museums in the UK, America, and Japan, etc.


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