Paper-cut is a very distinctive visual art of traditional Chinese
handicrafts. According to the archeological findings, it had appeared
in the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-589AD). Paper-cut saw
its great development during the Tang Dynasty (618-907AD). Even
in royal families ladies were judged by the ability at paper-cut
during that period. Professional paper-cutting craftsmen appeared
as early as the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279).
The initiation and spread of paper-cuts had a close relationship
with Chinese rural festivals. People pasted paper-cuts on walls,
windows and doors at wedding ceremonies or festivals to enhance
the festive atmosphere. Paper-cuts can also serve as presents or
as decorations on gifts and sacrificial offerings to the ancestors
with Phenix Paper Cut
The main cutting tools are simple: paper and scissors or an engraving
knife, but clever and deft craftspeople are remarkably good at cutting
in the theme of daily life. Although other art forms, like painting,
can also show similar scenes, paper cutting still stands out for
its charm - exacting lines and ingenious patterns which are all
hand-made. To make the three-dimensional scenes pop out visually
from the paper, as they are usually in monochrome, craftsmen must
exert their imagination. They must delete secondary parts and compose
the main body properly, abstractly and boldly. Though simple, the
color then appears charmingly bright. When cutting, 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. Craftsmen 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.
No doubt that art came from life and serve life, so did the paper-cut.
Chinese paper-cuts are rich in content. The auspicious designs symbolize
good luck and the avoidance of evil. The child, lotus and bottle
gourd designs suggest a family with a large number of children and
grandchildren. Domestic birds, livestock, fruit, fish and worms
are also familiar objects depicted by Chinese farmers. There are
some special paper-cuts of traditional design used as patterns for
embroidering clothes, shoes, hats, pillows, bed curtains and door
curtains. 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. The art forms are mainly used as decorations
and patterns for religious and ornamental purposes.
Paper-cuts made in different areas have different characteristics.
Paper-cuts made in northern part of China are robust and energetic.
Paper-cuts made from the southern part of china are delicate and