Inheritance of joy and centuries-old craft

Updated: 2016-02-23 07:49

By Liu Xiangrui(China Daily)

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Inheritance of joy and centuries-old craft

With the help of a crowdfunding project by Alibaba, traditional crafts like Guo's prints are taking on a new look to attract young people.[Photo by Liu Xiangrui/China Daily]

But being an apprentice wasn't all that easy. He had to do many chores outside of learning how to make the prints.

During the first four years of his job, he watched experienced craftsmen at the shop and was able to pick up different steps of the craft, from dyeing paper and printing to carving woodblocks.

The most difficult part of the craft is carving out the blocks.

"Facial details of figures in the images are the most important. If a face is not lively, the block is useless," Guo says.

In addition, the printing process involves nine woodblocks if the image is to become rich in color.

Making New Year pictures was a profitable business back in the 1940s, when there were numerous workshops and shops of various sizes all over Kaifeng. Involving different procedures, the shop he worked for had 80 employees working at the same time during the busiest days of the year.