Farmers in central China's Henan Province 'paint' way to rural revitalization

By Du Mingming (People's Daily Online) 16:46, April 25, 2023
Farmers in central China's Henan Province 'paint' way to rural revitalization
Photo taken on April 11, 2023 shows fans with pictures of peonies composed by painters in Pingle village, Mengjin district, Luoyang city, central China's Henan Province. (People's Daily Online/Wang Xiaofei)

By painting peony flowers in their spare time, farmers in Pingle village, Mengjin district of Luoyang city, central China's Henan Province, bring in an annual income of over 100 million yuan ($14.53 million). At the same time, they have made their hometown into a national model of promoting rural revitalization and increasing farmers' income through cultural inheritance.

Known as China's first peony-drawing village, most of the villagers in Pingle are skilled at painting peonies. Their artworks vividly depict the gorgeous, colorful and graceful nature of peony flowers, and sell well both at home and abroad.

The late Guo Tai'an, a villager of Pingle, was a master of peony painting who led the village onto a path to prosperity by teaching his fellow villagers to paint peony flowers.

In 1983, Luoyang, which is known as "the city of peonies", officially held its first peony festival, which would become the predecessor to today's China Luoyang Peony Cultural Festival. During the festival, Guo, who had previously been an art teacher, painted a peony-themed picture. To his surprise, the painting won wide acclaim, and some people even asked to buy it.

Inspired by the experience, Guo started to teach villagers with an interest in calligraphy and painting to paint peony flowers, and established the first academy of fine arts in the village.

"Local people in Pingle village love peonies and like to paint them, and we have also found fame and good fortune from peonies," said Guo Taisen, a local farmer in his sixties and also one of the first farmers who learned painting skills from Guo Tai'an.

"Peonies have helped us realize the small target of 'making 100 million yuan a year’," said Guo Taisen.

In 2011, China Pingle Peony Drawing Culture Creative Industry Park was built in the village. It includes a main building, 168 painters’ studios and 1.7 hectares of peony sketching area.

The culture creative industry park has been rated as a national 3A tourist attraction. It receives tourist groups and individual visitors from home and abroad, and sees more than 300,000 visits a year.

In the park is a school for training students in peony painting skills. It trains 2,800 students per year, and has become a platform for peony painting creation, painting skills training, exchanges, and demonstrations.

So far, the number of painters in Pingle has exceeded 1,000. Local villagers run more than 150 online shops selling paintings on China's e-commerce platform Taobao. They have also established a specialized team for the promotion of peony paintings via e-commerce live-streaming.

More than 2,000 people in Pingle are engaged in peony painting-related businesses. They create and sell more than 500,000 peony-themed paintings a year, generating a total income of 120 million yuan on an annual basis.


(Web editor: Hongyu, Du Mingming)


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