The patterns of life

By Xu Lin | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-01-31 08:00
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Understanding the deep cultural connotations of traditional designs is its own path to enlightenment, Xu Lin reports.

Editor's note: There are 43 items inscribed on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage lists that not only bear witness to the past glories of Chinese civilization, but also continue to shine today. China Daily looks at the protection and inheritance of some of these cultural legacies. In this installment, we talk to scholars and inheritors at the cutting edge of Chinese paper craft.

A pair of scissors and a piece of paper — that's all 55-year-old Liu Jieqiong needs to create delicate works of art. What's more impressive is that it's done off the top of her head without the aid of, or need to refer to, a drawn pattern.

This is the unrivaled skill of paper-cutting, an art form found all over China, from the unrestrained and abstract varieties in the north to the intricate and vivid pieces in the south.

Like Liu, craftspeople with dexterous hands cut and carve various patterns and images with scissors and burins, such as birds, animals, flowers and fruits, as well as mythological and historical figures, each with their own cultural connotations.

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