Artist at 90 on call for kitchen painting

Ninety-year-old Wang Yuanchang, an artist from Anting Town, was recently invited to a house in Qianjia Village to decorate its kitchen wall.

It was the second time that Wang Xu visited Qingfang’s home. Just before the Spring Festival last year, he painted two pictures for her.

This time Wang painted two more pictures with plum blossoms and fish.

Wang said that in rural areas in the south of the Yangtze River Delta, it is a tradition to paint pictures on kitchen walls before the Chinese New Year.

The main colors are red, yellow, green, and blue, and the subjects of the images include longevity, wealth, harvest, legends, and other auspicious images, Wang said.

Liu Bihua / Ti Gong

Ninety-year-old Wang Yuanchang paints plum blossoms, which have a beneficial meaning in Chinese culture, on the kitchen wall of Xu Qingfang’s house.

Images of carp jumping over the dragon gate, a dragon and a phoenix, the crow of a golden rooster heralding the dawn, and eight immortals crossing the sea are often used on kitchen walls for their auspicious meaning.

Wang has been painting such pictures for local residents since the 1960s. Over the past 50 years he has painted kitchen walls in Anting and the surrounding area. It is also a heir to the intangible cultural heritage of Shanghai’s traditional Yaoban fabric in Anting.

Xu’s family was busy selling sticky rice cakes. Her brother Xu Qinglong has been making cakes for almost 30 years. Their cakes are known among locals for their soft texture and delicate taste.

“It feels good to see the new kitchen pictures and the freshly made sticky rice cakes,” said Xu Qinglong.

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