The images in this collection were assembled by Anne S. Goodrich (1895–2005) in 1931, when as a Christian missionary in Peking she became interested in local folk religious practices. She studied the paper gods in this collection for much of her life. After publishing her research conclusions in 1991, she donated these prints to the C. V. Starr East Asian Library, Columbia University.
The images are divided initially by usage: Those which were purchased to be burned immediately and serve as emissaries to heaven; and those which were purchased to be displayed for a year while offering protection to the family in a variety of ways, before being burned. The images are further divided by display locations and by the deities they represent.
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The prints included in this category would be pasted conspicuously throughout the home during the New Year's celebration and displayed throughout the year. At the end of the year, they were burned and replaced with a fresh print. These prints are generally more colorful and exquisitely designed than those intended for ceremonial use.
The majority of the prints in this category formed part of a ceremony during which they would receive offerings and then be sent off by burning to the other realm to intercede there on behalf of those remaining behind. Others would be pasted on ceremonial altars, in stables, or other relatively inconspicuous places, where they would receive offerings for a period of time before being burned.