Wednesday, January 27, 2016

12 Chinese zodiac animals inspire creation of New Year prints by Taiwanese artists

鄭翔 Cheng Xiang
鼠大吉 Auspicious Mouse
Woodcut 2008 (ForYear of the Rat)
Size: 53.5 x 38.5 centimeters

The Rat, which is the first of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs, carries with it suggestions of peace, auspiciousness, reunion, abundance, and wealth plus social prestige. There are 12 mice in the print and they refer to the 12 months. The overall rat jumps with joy to catch the big fruit representing all that is truly auspicious and summing up the wishes for the whole year.

田文筆 Tien Wen-pi
圓滿 Fullness and Satisfaction
Linocut 2009 (For Year of the Ox)
Size: 43 x 29 centimeters

The idea of “blooming flowers under the full moon” is associated with reunion with the family, whereas the oxen in the picture tie in with the festive mood for the New Year. The Chinese symbols for luck, happiness, longevity and festivity in the print sum up the people’s wishes for a life full of happiness.

鄭善禧Cheng Shan-hsi
Winds of Change: The Ferocious Tiger 
Sparks Ambition and Stimulates Prosperity
Silkscreen 2010 (For Year of the Tiger)
Size: 53 x 40.5 centimeters

The tiger is a symbol of beauty, courage and power. The Year of the Gengyin Tiger has bold brush strokes outlining a muscular and vigorous body. The tiger turns to face the viewer, flashing spirited eyes and baring sharp teeth. Brownish-yellow fur with distinctive black and white stripes and upturned tail is set against a gold background, creating an atmosphere of overflowing prosperity. Year of the Tiger “2010” is written across the top of print and the theme along with “The 99th Year of the Republic” are written at the bottom. The folk art style used in the print combines traditional feel and modern flair. Since 2001, Cheng has been creating a New Year print annually for the Taipei Fine Arts Museum.

陳喬郁 Cheng Ciao-yu
萬兔瑞福迎百年    Two Three Four
Happy Centenary Anniversary
Linocut 2011 (For Year of the Rabbit)
Size: 43 x 34 centimeters

Central to this piece created by an artist from Taiwan is the auspicious rabbit signifying long-lasting prosperity, The birthday gifts symbolize good fortune, longevity, wealth and prosperity. The Chinese plum flowers on the four corners of the print are an important symbol of a nation.

陳雅芳 Chen Ya-fang
祥龍報喜 Auspicious Dragon 
Announces Good News
Silkscreen 2000 (For Year of the Dragon)
Size: 41.5 x 32 centimeters

An auspicious dragon, an icon identified with the emperor in ancient China, is a bringer of good tidings. The inverted Chinese character for “spring” tells of the arrival of the first season of the year. It also is a Taiwanese homonym for “surplus,” thereby heralding a year of abundance. Peonies all around carry message of wealth and social status.

高若蘭 Gao Ruo-lan
團聚 Family Reunion
Woodblock Print 2000 (For Year of the Snake)
Size: 45 x 30.5 centimeters

A colored snake coiling the length of its body around the other animals of the Chinese horoscope or zodiac lends itself to a peaceful and jubilant atmosphere. The joy of getting together is beyond description. Work is simple and unadorned yet rich in creativity. Artist expresses wish for world peace and social harmony. The print has a complete and unique composition. Its rich content carries the lingering charm of calligraphy.

陳朝猛Chen Chao-meng
駿馬迎春A Fine HorseUshers In Spring
2002 (For Year of the Horse)
Size: 31.5 x 45 centimeters.

Print focuses on a robust and neighing horse. In ancient times, a horse with vigor and vitality found a parallel in the spirited dragon. Hence, the auspicious dragon gets superimposed on the black stallion. The shadow of another horse is introduced to signify a breakthrough in bidding farewell to economic difficulties. The pattern resembling latticework or even Chinese papercut in the background carries auspicious expressions like “Good fortune as you wish,” “Good luck and good fortune,” “Wealth and good fortune,” and “Happy New Year.” Wishes are for a wonderful year ahead.

楊振華Yang Chen-hua
吉羊添財好運來 Lucky Sheep for a Prosperous Year
Linocut and Silkscreen 2002 (For Year of the Goat)
Size: 45.5 x 32.5 centimeters

The subject matter of an “ingot vehicle” in the shape of a white sheep symbolizes good fortune and increased wealth. Four lucky objects around include: carp or fish (“yu”) for abundance, ru-yi scepter meaning “as you wish,” vase or bottle pronounced “ping” for peace and peach for longevity.

彭彥棋 Peng Yen-chi
三猴開泰 Three Monkeys Celebrate the New Year
Digital Print 2004 (For the Year of the Monkey)
Size: 44.5 x 29.5 centimeters

Festive layout and joyous colors lend themselves to this contemporary New Year print. The male, female and young monkeys depict family togetherness. They are happily welcoming the New Year. The two trees filled with loving hearts match the simian subjects in cuteness. This digital print, which is very likely to bring smiles to faces, seeks to convey a wish for peace and good health in the coming year. Spring is returning to the earth, auguring a good Year of the Monkey.

陳朝猛 Chen Chao-meng
福到人間 Blessings to the World
Woodcut 2005 (Year of the Rooster)
Size:45.5 x 30 centimeters

The rooster is commonly portrayed as an auspicious image guarding and protecting the household. The message “Blessings to the World” in the upper right corner invokes a prayer for and a cherishing of blessings. This New Year print asks for good fortune in the Year of the Rooster. It is about everyone’s sharing of the joy of peace and happiness.

李厚強 Li Hou-chiang
狗來福臨 Lucky Dogs
Silkscreen 1993 (For Year of the Dog)
Size: 42 x 29.5 centimeters

A Chinese saying puts it this way: “Fortune follows close on the heels of a dog.” The dogs in the picture stand for wealth and prosperity. Bats, also considered a lucky omen in Chinese culture, as well as happy children at play round out this highly decorative and auspicious Chinese New Year print.

林宇儂 Lin Yu-nung
豬福滾滾With the Pig Comes Happiness
Linocut 2006 (For Year of the Pig):
Size: 50 x 32.5 centimeters

The auspicious red pig welcomes springtime, bringing abundance, wealth, and surging riches into the world. The Year of the Pig has blessings for everyone.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder how a person could distribute these beautiful prints or others like them in North America. I am also interested in publishing Hong Tong's paintings.
    Carey Ditmars at