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The Burnt Picture (Tanghua )
The burnt picture is an applied fine art and called in China by various names (tanghua, hnahua and laohua) which all mean the same thing-to burn with a hot iron to produce drawings on wood, bamboo, cloth or paper.
The burnt picture may be any of the usual subjects covered by the traditional painting landscapes, human figures, flower and birds, insects and fish. It usually stands out of the plain ground in bold strokes of lasting colour.
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It is very popular in the vast countryside of China. In the north-east, peasants like to have their wooden trunks and cabinet covered with burnt pictures. In the south, where bamboo grows in abundance, deck chairs and brush holding pots made of bamboo are often if not always, decorated with burnt pictures. When burnt on larger wooden boards, they may be displayed on walls and make interior decorations of simple and folksy appeal.
This is an art of making pictures with the cork bark of trees like the oriental oak. The cork is cut, carved and arranged into pictures. The cork picture, originated in 1900, is now a product of the Fuzhou Arts and Pictures Factory. They are available in frames for hanging on walls or in screens of various descriptions. They look nice and elegant, and light in weight, and will not warp, come unstuck or erode. They are generally regarded as suitable for interior decoration and as gifts for friends.