Back in nineteenth-century China, “paper horses” – woodblock prints of folk gods, used for home worship or burned at special ceremonies – were made and sold in their millions. But, printed on cheap, insubstantial paper and often destroyed within hours of purchase, few have survived.
An album of seventy-nine original paper horse prints surfaced in 2020 after years in storage, and bears mysterious similarities to collections made by missionaries Lewis Calvin Walmsley and Anne Goodrich in Beijing during the 1930s – at a time when both woodblock printing and the use of paper horses was dying out in China.
Now published as Paper Horses: Woodblock Prints of Chinese Gods from 1930s Beijing, this album offers an introduction to Chinese folk belief, with biographies and full-colour images of over seventy wealth and weather gods, fox spirits, deified warriors, bodhisattvas, patrons of industries, and even goddesses of smallpox and toilets.
Available from your regional Amazon store in Kindle Fire format (being photo-heavy, Paperwhite is not supported) and via the Kindle app, and Apple Books via the Books app.