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13 Jun 2007 - 29 Jul 2007

The Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macau and the University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong are pleased to present the exhibition "Popular Prints from China and Epinal, France". The exhibition features over eighty prints from France dating to the 19th century, and from China, dating from the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) to the Republican period. Viewers can appreciate and recognize the distinctive folk arts from the two nations.

The Chinese New Year picture has a long history and originated in door gods. During the Song dynasty, advances in printing techniques promoted the development of New Year pictures and the subjects began to change from religious to daily life. After the fall of the Song dynasty, to reflect a desire for a stable and prosperous life, New Year pictures with auspicious subjects were popular. New subjects such as scenes from operas, novels and popular literature also emerged. During the Qing dynasty, New Year pictures thrived and many print shops were established throughout China. Among them, Taohuawu in Suzhou, Yangliuqing in Tianjin, Weixian in Shandong, and Mianzhu in Sichuan are acknowledged as the "Four Great Centres". The subjects of the New Year pictures were varied, including traditional subjects such as historical figures, ancient legends, and auspicious blessings, as well as scenes from popular literature, operatic stories, and social and political satire. Pictures from the Republican period are characterised by the new ideas of the era.

European woodblock printing emerged in the 15th century when the most popular subjects were portraits of saint which were posted in homes to protect the family. Later, the increasing availability of paper enabled the rapid development of printmaking. By the mid-15th century, the invention of copper engraving and removable-type printing techniques led to a revolution in printing in the West. At the end of the 18th century, the introduction of lithography facilitated the further development of printing. This exhibition features woodblock, copper and lithographic prints produced in Epinal, France. The subjects of the prints include social satire, fables and legends, saints and other figures, animals and plants, and historical events. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Epinal had become a major centre of printing and the main area for the production of popular prints. Other cities in France included Metz, Nancy, Lille and Paris.

Napoleon III, Emperor of France, Eugenie de Montijo, Empress of the French,

married at Notre-Dame, 30 January 1853. 


 Epinal: Pellerin ; Vanson, engraver 

 Woodcut 42 x 31 cm 

 (Photo coutesy of Henri George) 

Little Cinderella 

Late 19th century 

 Epinal: Pellerin Woodcut 30 x 41 cm

(Photo coutesy of Henri George)

Mount Shuangsuo 

Republic of China (1912-1949) 

 Yangliuqing, Tianjin

 Highlighted woodcut 36 x 44 cm 

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