Guangdong, China: between 1850 and 1910. Ephemera. Attractive Chinese firework labels with the manufacturers name, 'Fat Shan Lai Wo Cheong' printed with a red rubber stamp on the verso of most. According to the description of a group of labels held by the MOA at the University of British Columbia, they were made in Guangzhou, Guandong and Canton, China between 1850 and 1910.
17 elaborate foil and tissue or paper backed labels with colorful hand painted illustrations of men, women and children, flowers, butterflies ranging in shapes and sizes 3x1.5" to 7.5x7.5" to 10.5 x 5". Detailed scenes of people dressed in robes, with curtains and flowers surrounding them, and interesting facial expressions.
"Gold labels were handmade in workshops using assembly line techniques. Artisans first cut out the labels' overall shape from bronze or copper foil. Next, they apply a thin rice paper backing to strengthen the foil. To texturize the foil, the artisans used pointed tools to emboss designs. These sheets were pinned to a wall or table so that several painters could work on them. The backgrounds would be painted first, followed by the details in the foreground using smaller brushes. During the last application, even finer brushes were used for the facial features and calligraphy. Some shiny areas of the original bronze or copper foil were left exposed. It was also common to add a layer of gold leaf designs, pressed out of hand-carved wooden blocks, to further accentuate the design.
Firecrackers were and are used to ward off evil spirits, honor deities and to celebrate special occasions. Manufacturers and merchants would order bulk firecrackers, pack them into wooden crates, and decorate the crates with these labels to entice potential distributors and consumers." [MOA: University of British Columbia via rrncommunity website #509038]. Very good condition. Item #27302