Happy Chinese New Year - the custom of Spring Couplets

January 31, 2017

 

 

Welcome to the Chinese New Year of the Rooster!

 

It is custom in China to glue a "Spring Couplet" left and right of the main entrance door of the house. Accompanied by a title scroll on top of the door that describs the couplet. It is believed that this spring couplet will help to enter the New Year with good Feng Shui, used as a New Year's decoration it expresses happiness and hopeful thoughts for the coming year.

They are usually attached on the second last day of the old year and "activated" by fire crackers. 

 

There are many forms of Spring Couplets, printed, embossed, hand written, etc. The most sought after are written in beautiful calligraphy by a famous calligrapher or artist on a special gold sprinkled red rice paper. 

 

According to Wikipedia, a couplet must adhere to the following rules:

  1. Both lines must have the same number of Chinese characters.

  2. The lexical category of each character must be the same as its corresponding character.

  3. The tone pattern of one line must be the inverse of the other. This generally means if one character is of the level (平) tone, its corresponding character in the other line must be of an oblique (仄) tone.

  4. The last character of the first line should be of an oblique tone, which forces the last character of the second line to be of a level tone.

  5. The meaning of the two lines need to be related, with each pair of corresponding characters having related meanings too.

  6. The characters must have opposite meanings of each other, especially the last character.

 

This year at WM Gallery Chengdu, three times two artists were invited to write letters and couplets for the Chinese New Year. Visitors and friends were presented with the writings of their choosing.

 

On the first occasion, January 7 2017, Prof. Yang Heping from Beijing University and Sichuan Tianfu Academy as well as myself, Swiss artist Antonio Wehrli, wrote couplets and calligraphy. 

 

The second time, January 14 2017, French artist Gaël de Kerguenec impressed the audience with his unique "French Calligraphy", writing beautiful poems and "Happy New Year" signs. 

 

The last time, January 21 2017, Chinese artists Ye Qinghua and Xiao Chaode wrote calligraphy. Ye Qinghua surprised the visitors with small paintings that he gave as gifts. Xiao Chaode wrote elegant scrolls for good luck and health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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