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Nianhua  

James Flath

[Chin.: “New Year pictures”]

Genre of popular woodblock prints known for their bold colors and folkloric content. Prior to the mid-20th century these prints were widely used throughout China to decorate the home, as calendars, and to conduct domestic rituals in advance of the lunar New Year festival.

The most common production method for nianhua uses three to five relief printing blocks. In this technique an outline block is used to print an image in monochrome, and additional blocks are then used to apply individual colors. Finally the prints may be touched up by hand. In some examples all colors are applied using brushes. The subject matter of nianhua is diverse. Although the variety of gods appearing in nianhua is virtually unlimited, domestic deities such as the Stove God, Door God, and the God of Wealth are common. The image of the Stove God in particular was believed to embody the deity and protect the household. The act of burning the print at the end of the year was traditionally intended to send the deity to Heaven, and its subsequent replacement was to welcome him back to the home. Themes of wealth, good fortune, and scholarly success leading to official promotion are popular, as are images relating to fertility and the birth of male children. Narratives scenes drawn from historical classics and the theater are among the most widely produced items in the genre. More rarely, ...

Article

3rd – 2nd century, male.

Sculptor, founder. Historical figures. Statues.

Ancient Etruscan.

Florence (Mus. Archeologico): L'Arringatore (The Orator), Statue of Aulus Metilius

Article

Volca  

6th century, male.

Active in Rome during the second half of the 6th century BC.

Sculptor.

Ancient Etruscan.

According to Pliny, Volca made a statue of Jupiter and a quadriga for the temple of Capitoline Jupiter.

Article

Sandy Ng

(b Yangzhou, 1895; d Paris, 1977).

Chinese painter and sculptor. Pan graduated from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and undertook further studies at the Accademia in Rome before bringing back her artistic training to China. She came from a poor family and was sold to a brothel in Anhui by her uncle following her parents’ death. Some sources suggest that she was a servant in the brothel, while others claim that she was forced into prostitution and attempted suicide more than once. Life improved when she met Pan Zanhua (?1885–1960), an open-minded government official. She eventually married him, adopting his surname, and moved to Shanghai. He recognized his wife’s artistic talent and encouraged her to study painting.

Pan acquired painting skills at the Shanghai Art Academy under the tutelage of the pioneering modernist Liu Haisu. Like many of her contemporaries, she in time found the domestic resources inadequate and went abroad to Europe to solidify her oil painting training and learn to sculpt. Nevertheless, she was not impressed with the academic methods taught at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and preferred styles outside the formal system, especially Fauvism whose leading exponent was Henri Matisse. Her works from this early period already displayed a penchant for bright colors, bold brushworks, acute observations, and female figures, including women of different races and classes....