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Chinese Paper

Folk Paper



Decorative Paper





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ne of China's most popular folk arts, paper cutting boasts a long history of over 2,000

years. Archaeological excavations found that as early as in the

17'b century,

gold or silver

foils, leather sheets and silk were used for cutting and engraving. Paper cutting finds its origin after the invention of paper in the Westem Han D}'nasty (2068'C'-25A'D') with hemp as its

material. Legend goes that when Emperor Wu's beloved Concubine Li died, he was in


solrow. An alchemy lover named Shao Weng (an ageless medicine man) from the Kingdom of Qi (today's Shandong Province) used witchcraft to evoke Li's spirit by cutting her silhouette on hemp paper, which was believed to be the inception of the art of paper cutting.




Cai Lun in the Eastern Han D1'nasty enhanced the quality of paper by adding tree bark, hemp frber, cloth and frshing nets into its composition. Plant hber broadened the choice of raw materials, giving a boost to the development of papermaking and the art of cutting, henceforth paper cutting art came into being'

Folk paper-cut of spring sowing



of chinese paper cutting and traditional is a close tie between the expression techniques findings present scenes ofancient plastic arts. The cliffpaintings discovered in archaeological images and shapes are lined at the same herdsmen,s life and production, in which silhouette originated in cliff painting have well level or simply in a line. The realistic techniques that been inherited and retained in paper cuttrng'

the scissor cutting and the knife sculpting' There are two common practices in paper cutting: ancient times scissors were called iiao which are fuilher categorized into several types. In in its real sense should be scissor-cut knife, while some people thought that paper cutting However, no mattel what techniques or tools are used, scissor instead of knife-sculpted.

cuttingandknifesculptingsharethesameofiginandbothtakepaperaSthesubjectofart creation,sobothofthemalepapefcuttings.Accordingtothecoloredpaperusedandthe techniquesinvolved'papercuttingfallsinto2tlpes:monochromaticandmulti-chromatic, patch colog fold cut, overlap cut, contrast color, color combination, is classified into folk style, court color dyeing and color filling. As to the style, paper cutting

and 7 techniques namely

style, literati style and popular style' ages as well as by shadow play, chinese paper cutting, influenced by folk customs of different

still vibrant with life' embroidery and painting, takes various forms and is

usfrbo,us moppets olk canswoman Liu Jinglan ts cutting papet



Double happiness window flowers and the ink drafts before the cutting-process (By Li shoubai)


t:t; i:Paper Cutting 2l

er cutting for window decoration, also called as Window Flower, is a popular omamental design for windowpane or window lattice in Northern China. Window flower for the lattice features linear pattems of flowers, insects and birds, usually square



with the middle

hollowed so as to ventilate air, hence the name qiyan (the hole for air). People in Shandong Province decorate their window with a big central pattem formed by narrow strips of flowercuts, together with comer flowers, side flowers and flower-cuts in front of the window to form a series

ofcomplete patterns.

Denghua, paper cutting on lanterns, often add festive mood to the exhibition of lanterrs. Decorated with colored paper-cuts, candle-lit lanterns turn and flicker with miscellaneous changes. In addition, there is a special kind called zoumadeng (Running Horse Lantem) with people and horses tuming in the light of a candle, presenting a moving flghting scene where people on horses holding knife and swords, chasing one after another, showing a lively and interesting scene.

Embroidery pattems are applied on clothes, embellishments and textiles. Designs are first drawn and cut out, onto which patterns are embroidered with thread and needle, or dyed directly onto the cloth as a decoration.


window flower (Photo by Shen Yao)

An lntroduction to the Making of Decorative Paper-cutting

Scissors, Sculpting knife, Beginning of paper cutting

Reference object and ink draft making

Symmetrical folding method for making round flower

Finished round flower paper-cut


and a sheet of picture three postcards l}e./.. Ä ;]i si t, ta ir r9t sfii Shanghai People's Fine Arts Publishing House 3Jfi Bi,tälifir { H #...