Come to china travel, you must see some special skills. Today we will maily talk about the Chianese paper cutting art. During your China Tours you can visit the Dingxi city, in Gansu Province where it is the home of the Chinese Paper Cutting.Chinese Paper Cutting or Jianzhi (Chinese: 剪纸, jiǎn zhǐ) is the first type of papercutting design, since paper was invented by Cai Lun in the Eastern Han Dynasty in China. Because the cut outs are also used to decorate doors and windows, they are sometimes referred to “chuāng huā” (窗花), meaning Window Flower.

From the 7th to 13th century, paper cutting became popular especially during Chinese holiday festivals. The art spread to the rest of the world in the 14th century. Throughout the Qing Dynasty many papercutting skills were developed including drafting and the use of smoked papers. By the end of the Qing ruling however, new art forms were being introduced. The Republic of China later tried to revive the art in the 1980s.

In the rural countryside in mainland China, papercutting is a traditionally female activity. In the past, every girl was expected to master it and brides were often judged by their skill. Professional papercutting artists are, on the other hand, usually male and have guaranteed incomes and work together in workshops.

Today, papercuttings are chiefly decorative. They ornament walls, windows, doors, columns, mirrors, lamps and lanterns in homes and are also used on presents or are given as gifts themselves. Entrances are decorated with paper cut outs are supposed to bring good luck. Papercuttings used to be used as patterns, especially for embroidery and lacquer work.

In Chinese culture it can reflect many aspects of life such as prosperity, health, or harvest. Some cuttings represent stories about the happiness gained from the accomplishment of common goals.

There are two methods of manufacture: one use scissors, the other use knives. In the scissor method, several pieces of paper — up to eight — are fastened together. The motif is then cut with sharp, pointed scissors.Knife cuttings are fashioned by putting several layers of paper on a relatively soft foundation consisting of a mixture of tallow and ashes. Following a pattern, the artist cuts the motif into the paper with a sharp knife which is usually held vertically. Skilled crafters can even cut out different drawings freely without stopping.

It is easy to learn about cutting a piece of paper but very difficult to master it with perfection. One must grasp the knife in an upright fashion and press evenly on the paper with some strength. Flexibility is required but any hesitation or wiggling will lead to imprecision or damage the whole image. Engravers stress the cutting lines in several styles. They attempt to carve a circle like the moon, a straight line like a stem of wheat, a square like a brick, and jaggedly like the beard.

People find hope and comfort in expressing wishes with paper cuttings. For example: for a wedding ceremony, red paper cuttings are a traditional and required decoration on the tea set, the dressing table glass, and on other furniture. A big red paper character ‘Xi’ (happiness) is a traditional must on the newlywed’s door. Upon the birthday party of a senior, the character ‘Shou’ represents longevity and will add delight to the whole celebration; while a pattern of plump children cuddling fish signifies that every year they will be abundant in wealth. You can enjoy the beautiful mankind miracle, so quickly come to china by Air China or China Airlines.

Jack Li

2 Responses to “Chinese Paper Cutting Art”

  1. Jeanie says:

    Hi, I’ve just returned from China and while there a bought some of the Chinese Paper cuttings. I was going to put them on my windows like I saw in many places in China. But now that I’m home I find there is NO sticky stuff on these cuttings so not sure how to attach them to my windows now. Has anyone got any idea how I can use these cuttings?

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