The Record of Suzhous Glory
Suzhou Taohuawu Woodcut Prints Exhibition
Enjoying a high reputation of “the Flowers of Oriental Ancient Arts”, Taohuawu Woodblock New Year Painting is a gem among Suzhou cultural treasures. As the National Intangible Cultural Heritage (Taohuawu Woodblock New Year Painting) Protection Unit, Suzhou Municipal Center of Public Culture has a collection of over 400 precious ancient New Year Paintings since the late Qing Dynasty. In order to lift the veil of Taohuawu Woodblock New Year Painting, we have made great efforts for two years, and Suzhou Taohuawu Woodblock New Year Painting Exhibition has been chosen as one of the National Art Fund Projects and will be held.
Today, when we focus on Taohuawu Woodblock New Year Painting to examine its unique status in the fields of history, culture, art, commerce and foreign exchanges since the Ming Dynasty from a synchronic perspective, we can see that Taohuawu Woodblock New Year Painting is not only an “exquisite article of daily use”, but an object to be studied from a macro view of art history, generalized history, including Kobe City Museum, Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, the National Library of France and so on, and domestic loan institutions are Liaoning Provincial Museum, the Shenyang Palace Museum, Nanjing Museum and others. At the same time, an illustrated album will be published to keep a record of the grand event. anthropology, economics and sociology to “dispel the clouds and see the sun”. Behind those supremely exquisite paintings, the alluring true beauty will be revealed slowly from static images to lively dynamics. Besides, there are more meaningful questions worth further discussion and tentative interpretation. For example, what are the artistic values of Taohuawu Woodblock New Year Painting? What special role has it played in the commercial and social life in regions south of the Yangtze River since the Ming and Qing Dynasties? How did it spread overseas as commodities and influence the culture and art in places like Japan and South Korea?
Great changes have taken place in hundreds of years, and everything has renewed with times. History is gone like a river flowing over mountains, but culture alone has been preserved and passed on from generation to generation. When looking back, we still have the great aspirations to faithfully present the outline of the splendid panorama and moving connotations of Taohuawu Woodblock New Year Painting throughout the human history by employing all sorts of literature and archives from a macro historic view. This is indeed a matter of great significance, so we invited Mr. Zhang Qing, director of the Research and Planning Division of the National Art Museum of China to be the planner and the academic director of the exhibition, who has collaborated with us and made painstaking endeavors. Nevertheless, owing to our limited knowledge and capabilities, as well as the incapability of handling complicated and abundant historical materials, mistakes must be inevitable. Even so, we still hope the elegant and beautiful Taohuawu Woodblock New Year Painting can bring about further historical and cultural reflections. Moreover, we expect generous comments and suggestions of spectators.
Director of Suzhou Municipal Center of Public Culture
Chief Curator of Suzhou Art Museum