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Chinese Paper Cut

Paper cutting is a traditional art in China which has been making its way along the route of the long history of paper. The kind of art went after the invention of paper in Han Dynasty, once became one of the main form of arts, and was popular to the people of the time; even in royal families ladies were also judged by the ability at papercut.

 

Chinese paper cutting art derived from paper joss although it paper joss is often printed. With some color of Taoist superstition, paper cuts and paper joss originally have the same meanings: Feudal China was backward in many ways. Most laboring people toiled year after year without enough to eat and wear. The farmers longed for a bumper harvest, the handicraftsmen hoped to have a brisk market, the fishermen prayed for a large catch, the silkworm raisers wished for a cocoon boom. Everyone wanted a healthy and prosperous family free from being bullied and oppressed by local corrupt officials. These hopes and desires were vividly expressed in unique folk art forms with paper. The paper was cut or printed with the images of deities, gods and immortals created by the ancient people, which they worshiped and prayed to for blessings and happiness.

 

Most of the papercut artists are women. The themes of their works usually include everything in people's daily life from dumb things to the surroundings. Familiarity makes them understand the real spirit of the art. The main tool for papercut is scissors. Once they are owned by a master of papercut, they will become so supernatural that the papercuts beyond imagination flow out of his/her hands in the chattering of a common pair of scissors. Another tool for paper cutting is engraving knives which are necessary to enhance a sharpened effect or to make a delicate job.

 

No doubt those arts come from life and serve life. Papercuts are very popular in the countryside in the north of China because of humid climate. The delicate works of paper cutting are not easy to keep well or long in damp or moist southern weather in China. Thus paper joss is more frequently put up in south China. The bright colors of red, green or light blue papercuts provide a strong foil to set off a merry atmosphere. So they are often found in wedding ceremonies or festivals in China. And people like to decorate their windows and doors using colorful papercuts.

 

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