Folk artist in his 80s revives age-old woodblock printing

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Wang Xueqin is painting. (Xinhua/Song Rui)

In a workshop around 20 km from downtown Tianjin, 85-year-old Wang Xueqin takes out a woodblock and brushes ink on the board before he places rice paper onto it and rubs the surface with a special tool.

The outline of a picture featuring a big fish in a lotus pond shows up.

With various types of brushes and hundreds of pigments, Wang then paints the fish body with red, its fat head with black and pink, eyes and tail with yellow for three times. "In this way, colors become even brighter and not easy to fade," he said.

Wang, an inheritor of the Yangliuqing Woodblock Printing in north China's Tianjin Municipality, was one of the few artists dedicated to fish paintings which were traditionally hung on people's walls beside the water vats to express good wishes for the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Yangliuqing Woodblock Printing was one of the most popular forms of New Year decorations in China, which flourished in Tianjin and the surrounding areas during a period between the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

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