Presented by the Canadian Society for Asian Arts and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Voices in the Smoke: Chinese Wood-Block Prints
by Carol Potter Peckham
Exhibition: March 4 – April 8, 2017
Opening Reception: Sat. March 4 from 1:30-4:30pm
Voices In The Smoke is an exhibition of Chinese woodblock prints that reveal a compelling three thousand year old story of the confidence and faith of the many people of China who believed in calling upon their ancestors and powerful and benign gods to improve their lives. Historically, people lived in hard and challenging times and the spiritual world acted as protectors from the threats of natural disaster, precarious physical conditions, and the difficulties of daily life. The wood block images printed for this exhibition are examples of the pantheon of gods and deities worshipped. The Chinese sent their prayers, pleas and petitions to the deities and loved ancestors in the spirit world to grant safety from harm and to bring good health and good fortune.
The wood blocks were found in an antique market in Beijing and painted by Ms. Potter Peckham. Some of the surviving blocks used to print this collection were finely carved by skilled craftsmen but the majority are quiet rustic and brought to market by peddlers and farmers from towns and villages. They survived many years of damage and destruction including the Cultural Revolution, used as firewood, and being re-carved for other purposes. Originally printed on small sheets of paper these requests to the spirit world were burned with incense and carried upwards in the smoke.