Chinese Nianhua ‘New Year’ Woodblock Prints

Series 1 and 2

A folio of 16 coloured woodblock prints published by Rong Bao Zhai (Jung Pao Chai), in 1949.

These newly created prints were copied from earlier produced, black and white, prints on the same themes.
The size of the 1949 prints was reduced to a standard paper size of 29.5 x 19.8 cm, and was released in 1950. The size of the actual prints varies slightly from plate to plate. The prints are numbered 1 to 8 twice, for reasons that are unexplained. The vendor believed these sets to have been produced as corporate gifts, rather than for general sales. The prints are stored in a simple Jung Pao Chai folder.

Nianhua prints were originally produced in monochrome. On the instruction of Chairman Mao in 1949, the current posters are polychrome copies version of earlier monochrome prints, (or, occasionaly paintings), separate woodblocks had to be cut, one for each colour. See ‘comparative prints’.

As a point of interest to the Western mind, a woodblock print is a print created from a block of wood which the artist both cuts and printed from. In this instance, coloured version of such prints were published by Jung Pao Chai, famous Beijing publishers, also known as Rongbaochai.
This firm had been publishing art-books since the late 19th century, specializing in quality reproductions of earlier artworks. These could be calligraphy, poetry, woodblock prints or paintings. Their reputation for high quality products have made their prints accepted as original works of art in their own right, with the prints credited to the artist who cut the original woodblock.

Series 1 and 2 of this page were produced in 1949 and two of the prints shown here were included in the catalogue of the ‘All-China Conference of Representatives of Literary and Art Workers’ exhibition in Beijing in October1949.These examples are: Series 2 nr. 1. Yen Han. ‘Placing Explosives Behind Enemy Lines, with the earlier print in black and white and copied in a coloured version. Nr 4 in the same series is Mo Pu’s, ‘The Day of Reckoning’ which, in its original form was a large oil painting which, in the copied version is titled, ‘The Hour of Reckoning’. (Mo Pu, was Head of the Hangzhou Academy of Art at the time).

Series 3

These 20 prints date from 1950 – 1952 with many of them being reproduced in publications of that period. They are an accumulation of individual prints, brought together and currently being studied to establish their details such as which prints belong to which specific folder.

Series 4, 5 and 6

These are three sets of 10 prints, each numbered 1 to 10. This numbering has come about from a collection of individual prints from which we made 3 sets with numbers 1 to 10, not according to how they were published.





Series 1 - Chinese, English and Russian language. Size: 20.2 x 29.2 cm


01a 01 1 Hung P'o. Enlisting in the Army 2 Shih Chan. A Village Delegation Presents Comforts to the Troops on New Year's Day 3 Yen Han Forcing Their Way Across the Yellow River 4 Chang Ting. Little Children Writing Letters and Sending Gifts 5 KU Ch'un. Casting Beans as Ballots 6 Ku Yi-en u. Helping One Another at the loom 7 Teng Shu. Learning to read and Write 8 Feng Chen. Children's Theatre



Series 2 - Chinese, English and Russian language. Size: 20.2 x 29.2 cm


1  Yen Han. Planting Explosives Behind Enemy Lines 2 Chin Lang. Greeting the New Year 3 Chang Ting Greeting the New Year 4 Mo P'u. The Hour of Reconing 5 Electing the People's Representative 6 Emancipated Peasants Reiceiving Documents of Land-Ownership 7 Chang Ching-wen. Making Shoes for our Soldiers 8 Wang Shih-kuo. Reforming Rascals





Series 3 - Chinese Language only. Size: 24.8 X 33.8 cm


1 20 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 16 17 18 19 21 22 23




Series 4 - Chinese, English and Russian language. Size: 24.8 X 33.8 cm


04-01 Chang Chien-wen  Trade Between City and Countryside Means Prosperity 0402 04-03 Wu Wei  Reading Newspapers 04-04 Ch'ung Hsing  Family Production Conference 04-05 Wu Li-Chieh-to  We all Love and Honor Chairman 04-06 Ting Yu  A State Owned Farm 04-07 Liang Huang-chou  Prosperity Comes to the Peoples of the Southwest 04-08 Li Shu-ch'in A Family Study-Group. 04-09 Kn Ch'un Tien An Men. Famous Gate of Heavenly Peace, on National Inauguration Day 04-10 Ch'ung Hsing  Mutual Aid Teams bring in the harvest




Series 5 - Chinese, English and Russian language. Size: 24.8 X 33.8 cm


05-01 Li Chun  Greetings to Delegates Returning from People's Conference. 05-02 Chen Chia-yen  Miao People Welcoming People's Liberation Army 05-03  Chang Chien-wen  Ready to submit a Production Report to Chairman Mao Tse-tung 05-04 Chin Lang  Crossing the Yang tze River 15 15 05-07 Teng Shu.  Signing for World Peace. 05-08 Jen Ch'ien-chiao  Learning  to Read and Write 05-09  Lei Cheng-min  Registration of a Marriage by Free China 05-10 Wei Chen-hsiang  Women's Mutual Aid Team




Series 6 - Chinese, English and Russian language. Size: 24.8 X 33.8 cm


06-01 Chiang Yen  Celebrating the Inauguration of the People's Republic of China 06-02 Tien Hsin-fu  A Village Mill 06-03 Ku Yi-chou  The Best Workers are Awarded the Title of 'Labour Hero' 06-04 (Shanghai)  Water Parade in Shanghai 06-05 Teng Shu  Welcome to Our Soviet Frends 06-06 Wang Ching-la-hsi  The first meeting of the Village Peasant's Association 06-07 Su Chien.  A Village Cooperative Store 06-08 Ting Hao  Celebrating the Inauguration of the People's Republic of China 06-09 Ma Chi-kwang.  A Bumper Harvest 06-10 Mo Lang  To Celebrate Victory, We Must increase Production