Sunday, January 23, 2011

Award-winning New Year print designs celebrate Year of Rabbit and Republic of China’s founding centennial

By Nancy T. Lu

Good wishes spring forth and multiply fast when the Lunar New Year approaches. The Year of the Rabbit has inspired many original New Year Prints and all of them have been conceived and created to convey absolutely auspicious messages.

As in the past, the Council for Cultural Affairs through the Taiwan Museum of Art has singled out to honor with awards the finest entries in the latest search for New Year prints inspired primarily by the Year of the Rabbit.

Of the top six entries, Lu Yan-hui’s “The Rabbit Takes Off and Advances with Vigor” shows an abstract rabbit outline against a background of peony-covered Taiwan fabric. In Chinese culture, the peony is the king of flowers. It is also the flower of riches and honor. It finds its place as one of the flowers representing the four seasons. It, in fact, it is associated with spring. The peony, too, is recognized as an emblem of love and affection as well as a symbol of feminine beauty.

Chen Mei-yun’s “Auspicious Rabbit Celebrates Centennial” goes all out in heralding the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan. A peony appears on the upper right corner of the flag. In the lower right is a rabbit with the Chinese character for “spring” on it. “Chun” when read in Mandarin is a homonym of the Taiwanese word for “surplus” or “abundance.”

Meanwhile the peach of longevity and the “ru yi” (“as you wish”) scepter likewise convey greetings most appreciated at the start of a new year. The plum blossom, chosen as the national flower of the ROC because of its five petals representing five clans (Chinese, Manchus, Mongolians, Mohammedans and Tibetans) and “Five Power Constitution” of the Chinese Republic, springs forth on a leafless tree branch in winter.

Chen Qiao-yu’s “Ten Thousand Rabbits of Good Fortune Welcome Century Milestone” features plum blossoms on four corners. Red, a hue reserved for happy and festive occasions, is the only color used in this New Year Print launched in a historical year.

Huang De-cheng’s “Good Persimmons Multiply Twofold” carries the message of joy spreading in the New Year. As a bright-colored fruit symbolizing joy in Chinese culture, the persimmon appears often on Chinese cups and bowls.

Ouyang Wen-hui’s “A Gentle Breeze is Freely Blowing” highlights a furry and playful rabbit sprawled in familiar and comfortable environment, thereby summing up the mood and spirit in the year ahead.

Cai Chun-yi’s “Jade Rabbit Announces Good News” captures the mood of a nation turning 100. Exploding fireworks on the Taipei 101 landmark usher in a year of celebration in exciting color. Taiwan keeps moving forward with power and speed like the bullet train on the high-speed rail.

Happy Year of the Rabbit to all!

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