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Farmers Celebrate A Year of Good Harvest

2012 January 21
by Amy Huang

Farmers Celebrate A Year of Good Harvest
Zhuangjiaren le qing fengnian
莊稼人樂慶豐年
Originally printed by the Qi Jianlong 齊建隆 workshop,
Yangliuqing, Tianjin 天津楊柳青
Late Qing period (1644-1911) print
Collector’s inscription dated to to the dingwei 丁未 year (1847 or 1907)
Poster reproduction
98 × 56 cm

In these reproductions of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) prints, we see the unified involvement of the Chinese people going from the rural areas to the city. The “Year of Good Harvest” print celebrates the great rural abundance of Northern China, with depictions of happy farmers surrounded by healthy produce, the result of a successful season.

In the foreground three farmers are having a picnic, eating and drinking wine. Accompanying dishes include: carp, pig’s head, meat stew in a ceramic pot, and a basket of white steamed buns. Yams, spring onions, gourds and squash are displayed in front of their picnic cloth, indicating a good harvest with plenty of surplus. To the right, little children play with fighting crickets.  To the left a woman brings lunch to the men in the fields, while an old man, smoking his pipe, carries a basket of eggplants and radishes home. Beyond these scenes of leisure and continuing industry, on the river, a boat laden with produce pushes off on its trip to the market.

A quatrain printed at the top of this image sums up the farmers’ gratitude and invokes their wishes for another bumper crop:

園地一齊忙,   Working hard together in the fields,
秋收萬石糧,   We harvested ten thousand dan of grain this fall.
瓜菜長街賣,   Selling our produce on Main Street,
銀錢櫃裡藏。   Silver coins pile up in our cupboards.

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