Understanding Chinese New Year thru prints | Inquirer News

Understanding Chinese New Year thru prints

What better way for Filipinos to understand the Chinese New Year tradition than through the visual arts?

This has motivated journalist Nancy T. Lu to organize the exhibit, “Chinese New Year Prints: A World of Good Wishes,” at Bencab Museum on Asin Road in Tuba, Benguet.

“Most Filipinos take part in Chinese New Year celebrations without really having a deep understanding of these Chinese traditions,” says Lu, who has covered Taiwan’s arts scene for the past 25 years.


The exhibit, which opened on January 21 and will run until February 20, showcases the works of 15 Taiwanese artists. Inspired by the Chinese New Year celebrations, the prints depict the 12 Chinese zodiac signs, each bearing distinct meanings.


This year’s sign, the Water Dragon, is shown in Lin Chih-hsin’s “Auspicious Dragons (Greeting Millennium).” The print shows dancers performing the traditional dragon dance, a practice said to ward off evil spirits in welcoming the New Year. The dragon symbolizes power and strength.

Tsai Chun-yi’s “Propitious Mice Bring Treasures to the New Year” depicts the Chinese’s way of welcoming the Year of the Rat. The animal, considered a pest in some societies, is regarded by the Chinese as a symbol of abundance and blessing.

“Wherever you find mice, you will come upon treasures,” Lu says.

“With the Pig Comes Happiness” by Lin Yu-ning shows three red pigs beckoning for spring. The Chinese New Year coincides with the coming of spring, thus the celebration of the Spring Festival. The red pigs symbolize auspiciousness, as red and the number “3” are considered lucky.

Other signs portrayed in the prints include the Tiger, a symbol for beauty and power, Rabbit for purity, Dog for loyalty, Ox for hard work, Horse for success, Goat for calmness, Snake for intelligence, Monkey for fun and versatility, and Rooster for confidence.

Other symbols adorn most Chinese New Year prints. These include flowers like the lotus, which means eternity, and peony, which is associated with wealth and prosperity; fruits like persimmon (luck) and peaches (longevity); animals like fish (abundance) and crane (longevity); and articles like vase (peace and harmony) and coins (wealth and prosperity).

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TAGS: Celebration, Chinese new year, Prints

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