Activating Double Seventh Festival - Double Seventh Festival in Folk Art
Some extant painted stones of the Eastern Han Dynasty are painted with the pictures of Cowherd's holding a whip to pasture cattle and Weaving Girl's sitting on her knees. In the pictures, star gods are laicized as common people.
The story describing Li Longji (a dissolute emperor in the Tang Dynasty) and his beloved concubine Yang Yuhuan's making solemn pledge of love in Changsheng Palace at Double Seventh Festival has been taken as the theme of poems and dramas again and again.
Folk customs and stories about Cowherd and Weaving Girl have been carried forward by virtue of New Year pictures and the drama "Milky Way Matching" which has been performed in festivals. It is said that this drama was composed and began to be performed in the late Qing and early Ming Dynasty. It was performed by the master Mei Lanfang in 1921 in Jixiang Tea Garden. Such scenes as Arranging Qiqiao Picture, Walking from Lotus Pool after Bath, and Meeting on Magpie Bridge are designed in the drama. In the finale, hundreds of magpies fly from below the Magpie Bridge, which has ever been passed on with approbation.
Cowherd and Weaving Girl is a hot theme in New Year pictures prevailing throughout China. They are endowed with different features. The scenes depicting Cowherd's grabbing fairy's clothes, his getting married with Weaving Girl and their meeting on Magpie Bridge have appeared in New Year pictures most frequently, and they are also the most popular.
New Year calendar pictures made by heliotype printing in Shanghai in previous years remained popular for a period of time. Since its coming into existence, the picture Cowherd and Weaving Girl drawn by Hang Zhiying (a famous painter) has become a favor of people, with the amount of distribution remaining unchanged over these ten years.
Some folk paper-cuts and embroidered articles are also themed with Milky Way Matching.
Milky Way Matching is also used as the theme of colored drawings and engraved bricks/stones in buildings and gardens as well as folk flour figurines and clay figurines.