Living Heritage: Paper-cutting

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated:  January 16, 2024 L M S

A pair of scissors, a piece of paper, and a pair of dexterous hands. That's all that's needed to create delicate works of paper-cuttings.

Originating in the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420-581), this ancient form of art has decorated windows across China to celebrate the Spring Festival for generations. Patterns of whichever of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals the new year ushers forth, as well as festive scenes of family reunions and temple fairs, are still lighting up Chinese homes today.

Often created without any reference to a drawn draft, various patterns and images, such as animals and flowers, and mythological and historical figures, each with their own connotations, are cut and carved with scissors and burins.

This is the unrivaled skill of paper-cutting, an art form closely related to the nation's original culture and religious beliefs, such as reproductive worship, praying for blessings and warding off disasters. It contains deep cultural value, as well as traditional Chinese philosophy and morals.