The Gunnery, a private school in Washington, recently celebrated the Spring Festival, otherwise known as Chinese New Year.

To celebrate, Rui Zhang's Mandarin students hosted a schoolwide exhibit of traditional Chinese culture.

On New Year's Day, Feb. 10, the lower level of the student center was festooned with stylized paintings and calligraphy of Confucian sayings.

"Part of learning a language is to understand the culture that produces it," Zhang said. "These branches were designed by placing a dollop of ink on paper and allowing the students to blow the ink to form a branch. At the end they may use their fingertips to embellish the branch with plum blossoms."

The paintings with cheery red and yellow blossoms, produced by all four levels of Mandarin classes, were then hung on an extended painting of a black water snake because this year in the Chinese calendar is the Year of the Snake.

The students have been practicing calligraphy all year. The walls of the gallery were hung with Confucius' sayings and Chinese idioms which Zhang had chosen for each student.

The ancient and exacting Chinese art of paper cutting was another art practiced and exhibited by the students.

One of the highlights of the show are the paintings in the style known as "Gongbi" which Zhang exhibited.

A self-taught artist of the specialized craft, Zhang has painted the Moon Goddess with a white rabbit and Magpies with plum flowers.

Participating students included Kevin Barnosky, Yeong Woo Hong, Samuel Joslin, Gabrielle McFarland, Matias Nadal Bonet and Erica Payne, level 1; Brandon Garzione, Abigail Herrup, Robert Hooper, Kevin Sun and Sofya Topkaeva, level 2; Andrew Hamilton, Jonathan Hay, Olivia Judd, Natalie Ross and Ye Eun Seo, level 3; and Won Jun Lee and Erin Sullivan, level 4.