Celebrating Spring: The Chinese Folk Art Way

celebrating Chinese NewYear

Febuary 8th–May 10th, 2005

The Chinese people welcome the joyous arrival of spring with celebrations that reflect multiple aspects of its distinctive cultural traditions. Going beyond the spectacular public pageantry of colorful parades, acrobatic performers and exploding firecrackers, is an intensely private expression of cherished dreams and great expectations. The actual celebration begins on the last day of the old year as the families gather eagerly anticipating the shower of blessings the new year will bring. By then, the entire household would have been thoroughly cleaned and freshly furnished with decorations for the occasion. These furnishings are deeply rooted in traditional beliefs, local customs, and cultural practices, which reveal the hopes and fears, connected with the family’s activities for the coming year.

This exhibition highlights everyday, folk objects associated with the spring celebration. These objects symbolize the foremost concerns of the people as they strive to ensure the well-being and prosperity of their household. Pictures of door guardians posted at entrances provide protection for the family from evil influences. Images of deities from Taoist, Buddhist, and folk traditions offer personal assurances of specific blessings and safeguard from harm. Auspicious symbols convey promises for health, safety, mercy, wealth, success, and all the good things that life may bring. Illustrations of myths and fairy stories enrich their mundane lives with entertainment and provide relief from their often routine existence.

The most compelling expression deals with the depictions of harmonious relationship within the family. Fortunate is the household where several generations live together and thrive. There is a great desire for peace and harmony between the members of the household as they fulfill their respective duties exercising the ideal Confucian principles of respect and honor toward one another. Women care for the children as they supervise the household duties. Children carry the hopes and dreams for the future fortune of the family. Parents and grandparents impart their wisdom and experience to the next generations. These highly esteemed senior members are treated with extreme deference.

“Celebrating Spring: the Chinese Folk Art Way” illustrates how these great expectations can be expressed in the most colorful and creative forms. Some are articles and objects used by the family during spring celebrations as well as throughout the year. Others are pictorial representations that range from paintings to embroideries, prints to woodcuts. The most unique cultural expressions are artistic renditions of the Chinese written word to express these ideas. Featuring folk objects drawn from different regional traditions in China, this exhibition aspires to create an atmosphere of joy and optimism for everyone who enters its doors.

The Chinese Culture Center wishes to thank the lenders to this exhibition: East Asian Art Association, Man-u Imports of San Mateo, George McWilliams, Carol P. Peckham, Denise and Alan Tom. Our deepest appreciation goes to Guest Curator Mrs. Sally Yu Leung for organizing such a meaningful exhibition. Mrs. Leung, senior docent at Asian Art Museum and instructor of Chinese calligraphy for Pixar Studio, was appointed commissioner to Asian Art Museum in 1999. We also wish to thank Ms. Manni Liu for her assistance in the labels and Mrs. So Kam Ng Lee for her insightful introductory report.

Funding for this exhibition is provided by Grants for the Arts of the San Francisco Hotel Tax, members of the Chinese Culture Foundation and private donors.

展覽: 迎 春 接 福
地點: 舊金山中華文化中心
乾尼街 750號,假日旅館三樓

時間: 二零零五年二 月八日 至 四月三十日
參觀時間:上午十點 至 下午四點,週二 至 週六

舊金山中華文化中心為慶祝中國新年﹐特別組織了深具教育意義的< 迎春接福>展。一年之計在於春。中國人傳統的迎新風俗,喜慶中蘊含獨特的文化意味。除了振耳的爆竹,五彩繽紛的花車遊行,以及各種雜技表演,人們還用多種多樣的形式,來寄托各自美好的新春祝福。除夕之夜,全家人共濟一堂,辭舊迎新的慶祝活動也就開始了。每到這時,人們都會清掃積塵,張燈結彩,把宅院點綴一新。節日裏的裝飾品,多源自當地的傳統習俗,求吉避邪,也和主人的生活事業緊密相關。

< 迎春接福>展主要展出與新春節慶有關的民間藝術品。這些作品無不體現了人們對生活平安,家業興旺的渴望和祝願。門神多挂在宅門口,以阻擋惡靈之擾。道教,佛教,及民間傳説中的神明,各司其職,消災得福。種種吉祥物,則分別象徵健康,仁愛,平安及財富等美好的願望。展品出自中國不同地區的民間藝人之手,不但包括年畫,版畫和刺繡,也有家庭日常用品。其中,取中文的諧音而寓意吉祥,則是獨特的文化表述,耐人尋味。我們衷心期待每一位觀衆都能感受展覽中喜樂祥和的氛圍。