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Charming Ancient Town Yangliuqing
2008-07-29 06:44:04     CRIENGLISH.com

A photo of a New Year painting at a fine arts gallery in Yangliuqing town in Tianjin municipality, taken on July 13, 2008. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]

Yangliuqing, an ancient town in the west of northern China's Tianjin Municipality, is famous for its folk art, especially its New Year woodblock paintings.

With the tradition of posting pictures to celebrate the Chinese New Year, the New Year paintings have become a unique art form in Chinese folk culture. The best ones can be found in Yangliuqing.

A Yangliuqing New Year painting requires five main procedures, including delineation, woodcarving, overprinting, color painting and mounting.

Yan Yuming, a pinter at one of the town's fine arts galleries, says color painting is the most special procedure.

"We have a unique feature of handwrought color painting here. Compared to famous New Year paintings in other places in China which mainly overprint colors on woodblocks, the elaborate color painting makes Yangliuqing New Year paintings more lifelike and vivid."

Besides various galleries and workshops, tourists also can appreciate local New Year paintings at the Yangliuqing Museum in the Courtyard of Shi's Family, an ancient housing complex built in 1875 in the late Qing Dynasty.

The folk art displays at the museum include not only Yangliuqing New Year paintings, but also brick carvings, which are the most attractive artworks in the courtyard.

Xue Chongyue, a museum interpreter, talks about the features of the brick carvings.

"The procedures to make brick carvings are opposite to those of ceramic making. The bricks are carved after burning, so they are very fragile. The procedures are very complicated."

With its displays of folk art and Tianjin folk customs, the Yangliuqing Museum has become a worthwhile attraction for tourists.

Fifty-seven-year old Cui Naiseng highly praised the museum after her first visit here with her husband Lu Xiang. The couple has just retired and returned to their hometown of Tianjin.

"The museum is quite good. The construction and the folk customs are well protected. We wanted to come for a long time, and the journey did not disappoint us. We still want to see more and do not want to leave."

The ancient town also has made some special preparations for the Oympic Games. Visitors who are interested in folk art can best enjoy themselves here. The museum also has interpreters on staff who can provide English explanations to foreign visitors.

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