In 2007 I (Ann’s friend, Lincoln Cushing) worked with my dear comrade Ann Tompkins to digitize/document her Chinese poster collection, publish a book on it, and then donate them to UC Berkeley’s East Asian Library. Most of them are about the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Today the library emailed a “Happy Lunar New Year” message featuring this non-political one from 1982. I’m so glad to see poster art given respect.
“This poster, a depiction of a boy and a fish, imparts the message of good wishes for the new year. When spoken, the character for “fish,” 鱼 (“yú”), sounds like 餘, which means “abundant,” invoking the idea of prosperity. For this reason, fish imagery is common in prints commemorating the new year. The image, with its elegant lines and vibrant colors, is based on the style of printmaking developed in Tianjin, and can be found in the Ann Tompkins and Lincoln Cushing Chinese Poster Collection at UC Berkeley’s East Asian Library.