ca. 1868. A rare Chinese broadsheet, published in the 7th year of Tongzhi, 1868 in the western calendar to celebrate Chinese New Year. Hand colored woodcut print with illustrations and text, depicting a procession of the fertility of husbandry or farming, the beginning of Spring, and food offerings to the gods. The broadsheet is beautifully illustrated with scenes of the harvest and scenes of offerings, and each scene sits within its own vibrant pink border. At the upper left, rice is being threshed, at the center women sit with babies in arms, at the right a water buffalo plows, while at the lower right a foal nurses. At the center stands an imposing golden water buffalo, while at the lower left offerings are made to a Chinese lord. The broadsheet is an omen for a fruitful year, and was created in the 7th year of the Tongzhi Emperor (Qing Dynasty).
Tongzhi was the eighth Qing emperor to rule (1861 - 1875) & his reign was largely overshadowed by the rule of his mother, the Empress Dowager Cixi. She wielded real political power and undertook policies aimed at reversing the decline of Qing Dynasty. With contemporary note in English at the bottom: "Spring Buffalo & the employment of husbandry: Omens of a fruitful year". These items are rare in existence as they were meant to be thrown away after Chinese New Year, this example most likely saved by an American missionary. At the right margin, text in contemporary hand written at verso. 23 1/2 x 14". With one horizontal and one vertical fold. Series of chips along old folds, and one in center, very delicate. Item #16230