Paper Cuts, a Chinese New Year Decoration, is an integral part of China's New Year Festivities and have been so for thousands of years. They consist of a piece of red paper which is cut into intricate designs and patterns using a knife or a pair of small scissors. Sometimes many pieces of paper are cut at the same time so that they can be quickly produced.
In the past glass was not available in China, so the paper was used in windows. The Paper Cuts were glued onto the paper and the light shining through the window would light them up beautifully. Traditionally Paper Cuts were created by the women of the family. They would sit together chatting while creating them.
Paper Cuts were originally simple in design. Gradually, the art form of paper cutting has been revived and now can become extremely complex. Some are so beautiful that they are not pasted on windows, but framed and enjoyed for years. Some Paper Cutting masterpieces have been included in museum collections.
Where to Appreciate Paper Cutting
If you like to appreciate Chinese paper cutting art, in particular how it is cut. During a China tour, you should visit northern China, especially the rural area, where paper cutting originated. The following three destinations are most recommended.
- Huxian County
Huxian County in Xi'an is the best place to admire paper cutting for sophistication. The fork artists of paper cutting in Huxian are renowned in China, so you will see some of the most intricate paper cuttings. Huxian is easy to access, only 40km southwest of Xian City, one of four great ancient capitals of China. By the way, the country is also famous for its peasant paintings.
- Ancient City of Pingyao
Pingyao Ancient City is a perfectly preserved example of Chinese ancient city and traditional culture. Not only fork artists, but also many traditional housewives in Pingyao can make exquisite paper cuts.
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- Shadow Puppet Play Peasant Painting Paper Cutting