By Nancy T. Lu
Guests at the opening of the exhibit “Chinese New Year Prints: A World of Good Wishes” at the BenCab Museum’s Print Gallery on Saturday, January 21, zeroed in on the colorful New Year pictures dedicated to their respective Chinese zodiac signs.
Philippine Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, who led the VIP guests among the 545 museum visitors on Saturday afternoon, was no exception. Accompanied by his art lover wife, who herself was born in the Year of the Rabbit, he lingered in front of Taiwanese artist Tsai Chun-yi’s “Propitious Mice Bring Treasures to the New Year.”
As explained to Purisima through a saying, where you find the mice, there you will come upon treasures. This particular auspicious picture, which shows three mice holding on to a pineapple ( a symbol of good fortune and prosperity), sums up the wish for the coming year to round off smoothly, reaping satisfaction in terms of wealth and social status.
This was the first visit to the BenCab Museum in Metro Baguio for
51-year-old Purisima, the country's top finance official who was born
in the Year of the Rat.
Philippine National Artist for Visual Arts Ben Cabrera, who was born in the Year of the Horse, gravitated towards Chen Chao-meng’s “A Fine Horse Ushers in Spring” during the picture-taking. The print has an auspicious dragon superimposed on a neighing black stallion.
In ancient times, the horse full of vigor and vitality found a match in the spirited dragon. The pattern in the background resembles Chinese papercut. Chinese expressions like “Good Fortune as You Wish,” “Good Luck and Good Fortune,” “Wealth and Good Fortune” and “Happy New Year”on the print reflect everyone’s expectations and wishes for a better or even great coming year.
The guests consisting mainly of local artists and art lovers stayed on to listen to a lecture on “Tradition and Innovation in Chinese New Year Prints” by Nancy T. Lu. Pointed out during the presentation of 100 colorful New Year prints inspired mainly by the Chinese zodiac signs were the different interesting subjects and symbols seen on the prints by the 15 contemporary Taiwanese artists on view at the Print Gallery of the museum.
The artists in Taiwan are encouraged by the Council for Cultural
Affairs to help keep alive the “nian hua” or New Year picture culture,
which has a history of hundreds of years.
All the 12 animal signs of the Chinese zodiac are represented in the
special show organized to greet the arrival of the Year of the Dragon.
The exhibit of the Chinese New Year prints at the BenCab Museum will run until February 10.
Philippine Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and his wife (4th and 3rd from right)
lead guests at the opening of the exhibit "Chinese New Year Prints: A World of Good Wishes" at the BenCab Museum in Metro Baguio on Saturday. Also seen in the picture are National Artist for Visual Arts Ben Cabrera, extreme right, and Annie Sarthou of BenCab Museum, fourth from left.
Philippine National Artist for Visual Arts Ben Cabrera and Nancy T. Lu are shown at the opening of the exhibit "Chinese New Year Prints: A World of Good Wishes" at
the BenCab Museum on Saturday, January 21.