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What is Paper Cuts ?

Paper-cut is a very distinctive visual art of Chinese handicrafts. It originated from the 6th century when women used to paste golden and silver foil cuttings onto their hair at the temples, and men used them insacred rituals. Later, they were used during festivals to decorate gates and windows. After hundreds of years' development, now they have become a very popular means of decoration among country folk, especially women.

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. When you look at items made in this method carefully,you will be amazed by the true to life expressions of the figure's sentiment and appearance, or portrayal of
natural plants and animals' diverse gestures. Patterns of chrysanthemum display the curling petals, pied magpies show their tiny feathers and others such as a married daughter returning to her parents' home, oryoung people paying a New Year call to their grandparents.

Although other art forms, like painting, can also show similar scenes, paper cutting still stands out for itscharm - 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, engravers 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.

It is easy to learn about cutting a piece of paper but very difficult to master it with perfection. One mustgrasp 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. Engravers stress the cutting lines in several styles and there are four ideal but basic lines that that they endeavor to master. They attempt to carve a circle like the moon, a straight line like a stem of wheat, a square like a brick, and jaggedly likethe beard.

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.

Paper cutting has a long history in China and is a very popular folk art. Artisans would cut out elegant designs of landscape or animals from thin paper and paste them on walls ordoors during festivals and wedding. The colorful pictures brighten their houses and add to the joy of the celebration.

These paper cuttings are also known as cutpapers or paper cuts. They are all handmade in China, where paper cutting has been a traditional folk art dating back to 105 A.D. Each picture is carved from special,tissue-thin rice paper, then handpainted with bright Chinese ink. If you look carefully, you'll find they are cut out in the inside as well as the edges, making them stand out against any background. Also, each motif is an unbroken, continuous piece with delicate and clever
links which hold the whole picture together.

Since each set of paper cut has its own special design and old designs may not be available again, why not start a collection of these magnificient artworks? Put the paper cut on a piece of bright white paper and carefully insert the paper into a clear sheet protector as you would with school reports. The Avery quick-load sheet protectors* are easier to use for this purpose. Place all the sheet protectors
into a binder and proudly display your collection.


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