Zhuxianzhen, Xiangfu District, Kaifeng, China


Color application
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Color application

The use of color in the woodblock New Year prints of ZhuXianZhen is very particular, using minerals and plants as raw materials, and grinding pigments by hand, the pigments ground are very pure, and the New Year prints printed with them are bright, and colorful, and will not fade over time. ZhuXianZhen New Year prints pay great attention to the appreciation habits of the Chinese nation, using blue, yellow, and red as the primary colors, with a total of 9-10 colorsoperatedd. Folklore often says "Yellow and purple together, look bad." However, the combination of yellow and purple in the New Year prints of ZhuXianZhen in Kaifeng is thick and strong in contrast, not only not ugly, but the colors are bright and in harmony with the joyful atmosphere of the folk New Year.

ZhuXianZhen New Year's paintings value warm colors such as cinnabar red, wood red, peach red, locust yellow, and tangerine yellow, which appear lively and unrestrained. The color plates include the black line edition (black base), black water edition, red edition, face edition (wood red), purple edition (sunflower purple), green edition (copper green), blue edition, yellow edition (edition yellow), etc., among which, except for the yellow edition, all are woodblock prints. The colors of the figures' clothing are mainly wood red, copper green, and sunflower purple, blending the colors of secular life into the religious color pattern of worshiping gods. Such as "Zhenzhai Zhong Kui" with a red crown and green robe; "Zao Ma" with the god of the stove in a red robe and the god of the kitchen in a green robe; "Guan Ye" with a red face and green robe. The use of wide-eyed makeup for characters is also a unique style of ZhuXianZhen New Year's paintings, such as "Huo Tang Zhai" (Copper Hammer Change Jade Belt) with Zhao Kuangyin and Yang Jun, "Dai Zi Shang Chao" with Guo Ziyi, "Jia Guan Jin Lu" with Lu Deng, "Chai Wang Tui Che" with Chai Rong, "Gou Jia Tan" with Li Siyuan and Wang Yanzhang, "Ma Shang Bian" with Qin Shubao and Wei Chi Gong, etc, which shows the characters' distinct aesthetic personalities.

The composition techniques used in the wooden block New Year's prints from ZhuXianZhen are rich and full, with thick and simple lines, rustic and exaggerated shapes, and fresh and bright colors. The figures have large heads and small bodies, which creates a comedic effect while also appearing balanced and comfortable. In some New Year's prints, characters' faces are adorned with red cheek eggs, but in ZhuXianZhen's prints, this is not used, resulting in a more natural and harmonious appearance. In traditional Chinese folk crafts, tigers are often depicted as yellow or red tigers, but in ZhuXianZhen's prints, they are portrayed as black tigers. This unconventional approach to creating these prints has been highly valued and praised by both the Chinese and foreign art communities.