Paper-Cutting 剪纸

Paper-cuts for window decoration are folk artworks with various colors and patterns, which, with distinctive ethnic features, have a history of over 1,000 years. Paper-cuts in Shanxi, especially paper-cuts for window decoration, are full of rich local features typical of Shanxi. Diverse patterns of paper-cuts point to farmer’s beautiful aspiration for future life, such as “magpie on wintersweet”, “two dragons playing with a pearl”, “peacock showing its tail”, “heavenly maids scattering blossoms” and flowers, insects, fishes and birds.
Paper-cuts had a close link with the solar term Beginning of Spring and after the Song and Yuan Dynasties; the time for making paper-cuts for window decoration to welcome spring has changed from Beginning of Spring to Spring Festival when people express their joyful sentiment to celebrate the Festival.
In the countryside of Shanxi, the patterns of paper-cuts for window decoration are diversified with healthy, pure, plain yet true-life contents. To be sure, they showcase people’s hope and imagination and become a way to express people’s thought and feelings.
There are four types of paper-cutting techniques. The first type is single color paper-cuts which are mainly red color paper-cuts and widely used in many areas. The second type is multi-color paper-cuts which are applied to huge windows of royal court and shops or windows of hall and shop front. Third, relief paper-cuts are popular in Gansu and Qinghai which, with exceptional characteristics, integrate cutting with paper stacking techniques. Fourth, color paper-cuts include dyeing and backing paper-cuts, with the first type made in Fengning, Yuxian of Hebei Province the most famous. Dying after cutting provides bright splendor and perfect light effect. Foshan, Guangdong Province produces the most well-known backing paper-cuts. Gold paper and silver paper are used to cut the pattern of main body with colorful paper as the back to reflect magnificence and elegance. The technique is also known as “copper lining”.
Paper-cuts for window decoration in Shandong Province are mostly strips suitable for local mullioned windows; and those in northwestern China divide the complete paper-cut into four parts with “cross-shaped” character. In order to avoid any impact on interior lighting, paper-cuts are largely overt cuts to get more hollow-cut areas. The outline of paper-cuts and window frame shall have an orderly proportion and even composition. Paper-cuts are mainly made of linear configuration for a fresh, bright and lively interior décor effect and exquisite visual effect.

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