Zhangzhou New Year wood-block prints are popular in the Xiangcheng District in Zhangzhou City, the Southern Fujian areas and areas in the south of Five Ridges, and are often sold in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia.
The book-printing industry thrived in Fujian in the Song Dynasty, which led to the rapid development of civil printmaking. In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Zhangzhou New Year wood-block prints began to gain popularity, and the rising of the Yuegang Port in Zhangzhou facilitated the export of such products. In the early 20th century, a large number of new year prints stores concentrated along Lianzi Street, Hong Kong Road and Taiwan Road in Zhangzhou, and a few of them remained until the 1950s.
繁多的民间民俗活动是漳州木版年画业生存和发展的基础。漳州民间木版年画的主要题材有辟邪消灾、祈求吉 祥、历史戏文故事及装饰图案等。漳州年画中以门画居多，门画又分粗、幼神及文、武神等种类。粗神指以大红或朱红纸为底印制的门画；幼神指直接以本色纸印 制，而人物背景上自行调色套印淡红色的年画；文神指画面人物没有骑马或插旗的年画；武神年画与文神相反，画面上人物一般要骑马或插旗。
A variety of folk activities have provided soil for the survival and development of the Zhangzhou New Year wood-block prints industry. The themes of Zhangzhou wood-block prints mainly relate to symbols warding off evil, marks of blessings, historical stories in dramas, and decorative patterns. Most Zhangzhou New Year prints are door-god paintings, which are divided into Cushen, Youshen, Wenshen and Wushen. Cushen refers to door paintings printed on bright red or vermeil paper; Youshen refers to door paintings directly printed on unbleached paper, with the background overprinted with pink (mixed color) later; Wenshen refers to door paintings on which figures do not ride a horse nor carry flags; Wushen, on the contrary, features figures riding a horse or carrying flags.
漳州木版年画先在木质平板上镌刻画稿（分色版和墨线版），而后以短版法套印于纸上。雕版分阳版和阴版两种， 印制“幼神”人物背景色（红）的版为阴版，这种阴版的刻法和用法为全国所独有。雕版上所有线条和色块的边缘都是向外倾斜的，这便于印制时调节水分。印制时 采用版套印，先色版后黑线条版，画面效果十分明朗。版材多选梨木，也采用相思木、红柯木、石榴木等，纸张全部采用闽西纸，如龙岩的福书纸，长汀、上杭、古 田的玉叩纸，清流的锡皮纸等。漳州木版年画作坊有“红房”和“黑房”之分，“黑房”专指印制文字书籍的作坊，“红房”则专指印制年画的作坊。作坊老板一般 兼任画稿和刻版工作，或二者居一，也用雇工干杂活。清末的颜氏作坊在兼并小作坊的过程中聚集了一大批前代旧版和同代新版，各种版本比较齐全。1957年， 颜氏后代颜镜明将作坊和店产全部捐给政府，自己改业行医。
For Zhangzhou New Year wood-block prints, drawings are first engraved on wood-blocks (including coloring block and outline block), then overprinted on the paper using wood-block printing. The engraving is divided into positive engravings and negative engravings. The ones used to print the background color for characters in Youshen are negative engravings, the carving and usage of which is unique in China. All lines and color blocks on the engraving are designed with outward edges, which facilitate the adjustment of water during the printing. Overprinting is used by applying color engravings and ink line engravings successively to provide a compelling effect. Pear wood is usually selected as material for engraving, but acacia wood, Chinese oak and pomegranate are alternatives too. In regards to the paper, only Minxi paper is used, such as Fushu paper in Longyan City, Yvkou paper in Changting County, Shanghang County and Gutian County, and foil paper in Qingliu County. In Zhangzhou, wood-block printing workshops are divided into the “red house” and the “dark house”. The “dark house” refers to those dedicated to book printing, while the “red house” refers to those specialized in printing New Year pictures. Quite frequently, workshop owners are both the drawer and the engraver, or at least take one of the two key positions, while handymen are hired for odd jobs. The Yan’s Workshop in late Qing Dynasty, by merging a number of smaller workshops, successfully brought together a large number of older engravings and contemporary new engravings, forming an unprecedented collection of different works. In 1957, Yan Jingming, a descendant of the Yan’s, chose to practice medicine after donating all of the workshop and store properties to the government.
With the deepening of social transformation, the traditional awareness is gradually fading away and folk activities have begun to change as a result. Without the support of local customs, Zhangzhou New Year wood-block prints have shifted focus to having an ornamental purpose, significantly weakening the practicality of warding off evil and inviting blessings. All these factors have contributed to a market slump. In face of a shrinking market, people engaged in production of wood-block paints are becoming fewer in number. Therefore, specific measures should be taken as soon as possible to protect and rescue the Zhangzhou New Year wood-block prints and their processes from the brink of extinction.
兴盛 xīnɡshènɡ:rapid developmen;
繁多 fánduō:A variety of;