The Taohuawu New Year Picture, which is characterized by patterns, words and comic-strips, is a main kind of folk woodcut New Year Picture in Jiangnan (south of lower reaches of the Changjiang River) of China. Taohuawu is located north to Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province. Thanks to its rich themes, elegant patterns and comely color, the Taohuawu New Year Picture is very popular among people. It, together with Yangliuqing Woodcut New Year Picture of Tianjing and Weifang Woodcut New Year Picture of Shandong, is a representative of China's folk woodcut New Year pictures of the Ming and Qing dynasties.
The Taohuawu New Year Picture has a history of more than 400 years. It originated from the Carving Printing Craftwork of the Song Dynasty. It was developed from the Picture of Embroidered Portrait, and, to the Ming Dynasty, had been developed into a folk artistic style. The Taohuawu New Year Picture is made of wood, and printed with traditional watermark mode, namely one plate with one color. The composition of picture is plump, bright, and decorative; it usually takes folktales, festivals, figures of Gods, dramas and current affairs as the theme, and expresses people's good wish through techniques of symbols, metaphors and exaggeration. The heyday of the Woodcut New Year Picture was the Yongzheng and Qianlong periods of the Qing Dynasty, during which the total output were more than 1 million pieces every year. It is not only very popular in the Yangtze River area and many other regions in China, but also has been introduced to Japan, England and West Germany.