Ninety-year-old Wang Yuanchang, an Anting Town artist, was recently invited to a house in Qianjia Village to decorate its kitchen wall.
It was the second time Wang had visited Xu Qingfang’s home. Just before the Spring Festival last year, he painted two pictures for her.
This time, Wang painted another two pictures featuring plum blossom and fish.
Wang said painting pictures on a kitchen wall before Chinese New Year is a tradition in the rural areas in the south of the Yangtze River Delta.
The main colors are red, yellow, green and blue, and the themes of the paintings cover longevity, prosperity, harvest, legends and other auspicious images, Wang said.
Ninety-year-old Wang Yuanchang paints plum blossom, which has the auspicious meaning in Chinese culture, on the kitchen wall of Xu Qingfang’s home.
Images of carp jumping over the dragon gate, a dragon and phoenix, the crow of a golden rooster heralding the dawn and eight immortals crossing the sea are commonly used on kitchen walls for their auspicious meanings.
Wang has been painting such pictures for local residents since the 1960s. In the past 50 years, he has painted kitchen walls in Anting and neighboring areas. He is also an inheritor of the intangible cultural heritage of Shanghai’s traditional yaoban cloth in Anting.
Xu’s family has been busy making glutinous rice cakes to sell. Her brother Xu Qinglong has been making cakes for nearly 30 years. Their cakes are famous among locals for their soft texture and delicate taste.
“It feels good to see the new kitchen paintings and the glutinous rice cakes freshly made,” Xu Qinglong said.