Zhao Zongzao, Highland Barley, a series of 3 woodblock prints

Hangzhou, China, about AD 1958-60

Zhao Zongzao (born 1931) is a member of the China National Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou. The Academy's Printmaking Department, opened in 1954, spearheaded the movement to revive the popular print in China. Artists were sent to Beijing to study traditional printing techniques at the famous Rongbaozai studio. Artists like Zhao made new advances in colour printing, incorporating elements from Chinese folk painting, stone rubbing and western print traditions to their work.

The three prints of Highland Barley depict the cultivation of barley by the Tibetan people. Such romanticized visions of peasant life were frequently employed as propoganda for the promotion of the supposed social and industrial achievements of the Great Leap Forward (AD 1958-60).

Zhao's mastery can be seen in his skilful combination of oil-based black ink and the water-based colour woodblock process. The taoban technique has been used. The making of each print in this series required at least four blocks. Bright colour is used to focus the viewer's attention to the human activity at the centre of the composition. Different blocks with textured surfaces create the variation in the colour of the barley with the black outline and texture being printed last.

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Dimensions

Height: 425.000 mm (1)
Width: 403.000 mm (1)
Height: 425.000 mm (1)
Width: 403.000 mm (1)
Height: 425.000 mm (1)
Width: 403.000 mm (1)

Museum number

Asia OA 1993.10-28.01;Asia OA 1993.7-6.043;Asia OA 1993.10-28.02

RFC3461

Location

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