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Category: South Chinese Folk Art Paintings & Batiks

God of Longevity - Woodblock Print Wall Scroll


God of Longevity - Woodblock Print Wall Scroll
121cm
47½"
59.8cm
23½"

Approximate Measurements

Painting: 42cm x 65cm  ≈  16½" x 25½"

Silk Scroll: 50.8cm x 121cm  ≈  20" x 47½"

Width at Wooden Knobs: 59.8cm  ≈  23½"

Information about caring for your new Wall Scroll
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壽星

Long Life Saint - Shou Xing

God of Longevity - Woodblock Print Wall Scroll close up view

Close up view of the artwork mounted to this silk brocade wall scroll

This is the mythical "God of Longevity" or literally, "Longevity Star" of China. Hanging this on your wall may bring you a long and fruitful life.

In his hand is a peach (another Chinese symbol of long life). Other auspicious creatures surround him in this classic image. More about: Shou Xing (Longevity Star)


What is woodblock printing?

Woodblock printing is a process, where dye or paint is applied to a carefully carved wooden block or plate. Paper is then placed on the prepared block and a roller is applied to the paper to ensure the dye or paint transfers properly and evenly on the paper. The woodblock printing process is only for the black lines of the image. The artist later applies colorful paint to the piece to finish it off.
The art of woodblock printing spans nearly 1,800 years of Chinese history. The carving (xylography) and printing process has remained the same since that ancient time.

Tang ZhongLin plays erhu

2004 Tang Zhong-Lin plays the erhu (an ancient two-stringed Chinese violin) at his shop in Chengdu.


Tang ZhongLin plays erhu

2008 I discover Mr. Tang carving a woodblock print plate out of solid birch.



How I found this art...

About once a year for the past 7 years, I make a trip to Chengdu in the Sichuan province of China (that's where the pandas live). Each time, I visit Huang Xin-An (one of my favorite artists).

In the tiny shop next to Huang Xin-An's is a very quiet, and yet eccentric man. His name is Tang Zhong-Lin (Mr. Tang). His shop is like a collection of curiosities. He has rare trinkets and antiques from rare places and times in China. From time to time, I buy one of those trinkets for personal use, or as a gift for a close friend.

One year, some oil paintings appeared in his shop. I ask Mr. Tang about them, and he told me that he painted them. The images are dark; Not just the colors, but the subject as well. One appears to be an angel in hell. I ask the price, but they are out of my price range.

More than a year later, I am back in Chengdu. After buying a couple hundred watercolor paintings from Huang Xin-An (a year's supply), I see Mr. Tang slowly working with a scribe and chisel on a huge block of hardwood. I ask what he's working on, and without a word, he flips the wood over. Suddenly, I know just what it is. He's carving the plate for a woodblock print.

I then talk to Mr. Tang at length about how I tried to buy woodblock prints before, but the colors always bled when we tried to mount them to wall scrolls. Mr. Tang says this was because most woodblock prints are made to be pasted by people's doors and forgotten about. They're not made to last. Then he says he'll make me some quality woodblock prints that are made to last. With the use of quality paints, he assures me that there will be no bleeding of the colors when we mount the artwork. I specify that I want them done on handmade "picaozhi" (so-called "leather grass paper"). He likes my paper choice for his artwork, and we strike a deal. I pile a hefty sum of money into Mr. Tang's hands and continue my journey.

A few months later, a package full of very cool woodblock prints arrived at my family apartment in Beijing. They look great.

They've been mounted to handmade wall scrolls at our workshop. Now you can hang this rare artwork of ancient technique and origin in your home.

This woodblock print is of a higher quality than you would normally find. It's made to last a lifetime.


Tang ZhongLin plays erhu

All carving and Chinese character must be created in mirror image of the final product.


Tang ZhongLin plays erhu

Time for a smile during the carving.
There's no rush, as it takes weeks to carve both sides of the block.


About the artist...

Tang Zhong-Lin is in his late 40s. When describing himself, he seems proud of his rather round eyes (at least more round than most Chinese people). He is a collector and dealer of many unique items. In his shop you'll find antique incense burners, bronze Buddha heads, antique door locks, and much more. Buying and selling these items is how he makes his living, but he also has an artistic streak. He's been having trouble finding a market for his somewhat morbid and abstract oil paintings in China (we're still thinking about helping him find a market in the west). His love of classic Chinese subjects, has led him to master the art of woodblock printing. Next time you're at the arts and antiques market in Chengdu, maybe you'll run across Mr. Tang carving on another block of wood, or putting the finishing touches on an oil painting.


About the wall scroll...

Once it arrived at the workshop, this artwork was laminated to more sheets of xuan paper and built into a handmade silk wall scroll by our skilled craftsmen. See more about building wall scrolls

This item was listed or modified
Jan 13th, 2012

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Gary's random little things about China:

More traffic tidbits:

Parking your car on the sidewalk is legal in most places in China. I am talking fully on the sidewalk, and fully blocking the sidewalk, so that nobody can walk there at all. After all, there is a perfectly good roadway for pedestrians and cars to share just past the edge of the sidewalk - right?
In many urban areas, there is a sidewalk parking attendant who will ensure that you park in such a way that no one can use the sidewalk at all. They will also charge a fee of 2 Yuan (26 cents) for up to a full day of sidewalk parking privileges.

The green light means "go". The Yellow light means "20 more cars should enter the intersection". The red light means "5 more cars enter the intersection and become a nuisense to pedestrians trying to cross the street".
Actually, the green light means "Try to go, but you'll probably have to wait for the yellow or red light before you get your chance".

If you get in a car accident, it's best to argue briefly with the other driver, and then both drive away. When the police get involved, everyone gets fined, and someone might lose their license. The fines are generally higher than what it will cost to fix your car, so hanging around to exchange insurance information is rare in minor fender-benders.
If your car is too damaged to drive away, you are screwed. The police own and operate all of the tow trucks in most Chinese cities. You will be fined, charged for towing, charged an impound fee, and may lose your license.

On long stretches of highway, police checkpoints are occasionally set up. They may be stopping drivers and summarily fining them for wearing sunglasses or talking on a mobile phone while driving. However, in the next stretch of highway, another police checkpoint may be issuing fines for driving without sunglasses.

Under certain circumstances, and if you are really unlucky, drivers who get in injury accidents while drunk may be executed. If you are caught drinking and driving just once, you will be fined, and will probably lose your drivers license for the rest of your life.
Thus, drunk driving has become very rare in China.

Typical Gallery Price: $200.00

Your Price: $58.88



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