Living with the Spirits: Decorating Homes in Traditional China
Kansas City, MO 64111
During festivals and seasonal occasions in China, family members select brightly colored prints to display on their doors, windows, walls and furniture. These prints, called New Year pictures (nianhua), heighten the cheerful holiday feeling.
More than decoration, they represent cultural and spiritual values. They depict positive images of deities that protect the family, emblems of good fortune and theatrical scenes. The installation in the gallery re-creates the decoration of a traditional Chinese home.
Laurence Sickman, the former curator and director who started the world-renowned collection of Chinese art at the Nelson-Atkins, acquired this collection of popular prints. While living and studying in China from 1930 to 1935, he decorated his own home with the colorful prints.