In this long narrative landscape, our eyes trace the journey of the fisherman, who may be standing in the distance on the left. His boat can be seen tucked behing a rock, and the mouth of a small cave. Pink petals of peach blossoms adorn the trees along to shore of a stream.
This panoramic view of a pastoral landscape is based on a famous story of Peach Blossom Spring written by one of the greatest poets in China, Tao Yuanming (372-427). After traveling along a stream, a fisherman came to a breathtaking peach grove, where the air was filled with the aroma of peach blossoms, and pink petals fluttered through the air. The fisherman found a cave, and after passing through its narrow walls discovered a vibrant, flourishing village. Surprised to have a visitor, the residents asked where he had come from, and explained that their ancestors had fled and settled there during the harsh Ch’in dynasty (225-209 BCE). After a few days he returned home, and promised the villagers never to share where he had been. Cunningly, the fisherman marked his return path and told his magistrate of the fertile land, yet no one was able to find the idyllic village again.
Flat woven bamboo basket with geometric pattern in red and black
Flat woven bamboo basket with geometric pattern in red and black and the design of a swastika ("wan") in the middle, which is a homophone for "ten-thousand" and is used in various combinations to suggest "endless;" therefore, it is believed that this basket may have been used at a wedding or birthday celebration.
Red lacquered wooden duck-shaped container wth lid
This duck-shaped container was probably used at weddings, perhaps to serve rice or some other food. Red is the color of happiness, appropriate for a wedding. Mandarin ducks, believed to mate for life, are symbols of marital bliss and conjugal fidelity.
Polychrome woodblock print of a rooster holding a praying mantis in its mouth with four characters at top center framed by a floral scrolling border
As early as the sixth century AD, it was customary in China to paste an image of a rooster on the door on the first day of the lunar New Year to protect the household. The rooster is associated with the sun, and when the rooster crows it is believed that all darkness of evil disappears. The rooster holds a mantis in its beak. The pronunciation of the characters for "mantis" (tanglang) are similar in sound to those for "promotion to a high official post" (dang lang), implying that the rooster brings good fortune too the family. In addition, the pronunciation of the character for rooster (ji) is identical to that for "auspicious." Other, propitious motifs in this print include a branch of red coral (for wealth), a red peony (for honor) and a pointed green Artemisia leaf (whose strong scent provides protection against evil).
In this image a worker and peasant face one another, each with his own horse carrying the fruits of his labor. The text reads "Mutual aid between the cities and the countryside."
This is a door picture, which stems from the tradition of posting two gods at the door to act as guardians. When the Community Party came to power, the gods were replaced with laborers and peasants, and the religious or folk aspect turned more propagandistic. In this image, the text reads "Mutual aid between the cities and the countryside."
Two male figures wearing official robes and hats, sit side by side on thrones. The one on the right holds a shoe-shaped ingot and a scepter. The god on the left holds only a shoe-shaped ingot. In front of them is basin filled with coins and rarities such as jewels, branches of coral and shining ingots. On the right, a smaller male figure holds a horse on a tray while his counter part on the left holds a brush and a scroll. At the top is a sinuous dragon whose spine is composed of coins and above him is a horse bearing a stack of shoe-shaped ingots.
Two Gods of Wealth, wearing official robes and hats, sit side by side. The one on the right holds a shoe-shaped ingot and a scepter known as a “juyi” (everything as you wish). The god on the left holds only a shoe-shaped ingot. In front of them is the never-empty treasure basin filled with coins and rarities such as gleaming round jewels, branches of coral and shining ingots. On the right, a foreigner, identifiable by his curly beard, large eyes and peaked hat, brings in wealth in the form of a magic horse on a tray; his counter part on the left is an official holding a brush and a scroll. Symbols of wealth fill the picture. At the top is a sinuous dragon whose spine is composed of coins and above him is a horse bearing a stack of shoe-shaped ingots. The horse was the fastest mode of transportation in traditional China; here he gallops to bring in money.