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Art Terms

New Year Pictures

Vision of Happy Society

By 1949 and the forming of the People’s Republic of China the ‘modern girls’ of advertising posters and the goods they offered were branded as decadent capitalist products and were swiftly replaced with more appropriate themes as state propaganda presented model workers, farmers and national leaders in mass-produced prints. Traditionally, at new year’s, it was the custom in China to put up ‘good luck pictures’ in the home or by the gate, evoking good health and family growth and prosperity. The Communist Party of China took over this familiar genre to reach a large illiterate audience and as part of its cultural policy spread idealized visions of socialism and the bright future it offered, calling them ‘new year pictures’ from then on.

Chen Zhongzhi "Selecting an Honor Member" 1964 watercolor on paper

Xin Liliang "A New View at the Farming Fields" 1951 offset on paper

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