"The Union of the Hundred Blessings" 百福駢臻 - ROM2018_16877_4


"The Union of the Hundred Blessings" 百福駢臻

Medium:Woodblock print, ink and colour on paper
Geography: Yangliuqing, Tianjin, China
Period: Nineteenth to mid-twentieth century
Ht 57 x Wt 35 cm
Object number: 969.168.46
On view
Gallery Location:Painting Room

This door picture of five boys is for a single door.1 The boys hold various treasures and auspicious objects. Standing on one foot, the boy on the bottom left holds a halberd (ji ) in one hand and a stone chime (qing ) in the other. They boy on the bottom right points to the sky with his left hand, and grasps a tree branch bearing three circular fruits with his right hand. A magpie perches atop the fruit on the branch.

Ji is a homophone for ji (audpicious) and qing for qing (to celebrate). Together, ji and qing imply auspiciousness. The gesture of pointing (zhi ) to the sky symbolizes “may you soon rise in rank” (zhiri gaosheng 指日高陞). Three round (yuan ) fruits imply “may you successively achieve three firsts [in civil examinations at the provincial, national, and imperial exams]” (lianzhong sanyuan 連中三元). A magpie (xique 喜鵲) suggests “raise the head and see happiness” (taitou jianxi 抬頭見喜).

A giant pearl sparkles between the two boys. Below the pearl is a huge coin with the message, “may you have endless blessings and longevity” (fushou mianchang 福壽綿長). Standing behind are two elder boys, each wearing a fancy Chinese opera costume. They are lifting up a treasure bowl (jubaopen 聚寶盆) together. On the bowl, another boy stands over a huge ingot with his legs wide apart. He lifts a hand scroll up high, upon which is written in four large characters, “the union of the hundred blessings” (baifu pianzhen 百福駢臻). In the immediate background of the top boy, many red bats (hongfu 紅蝠, which is a homophone for hongfu 洪福, or “great blessings”) fly over the auspicious clouds, symbolizing “the union of the hundred blessings.”

1 For the uses of door prints on single and double doors, see cat. 1-4.

Publication: Wen-Chien Cheng, and Yanwen Jiang. Gods in my home: Chinese ancestor portraits and popular prints (Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum, 2019), 75.

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