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Chinese Arts - Handicrafts
Paper Objects 折紙剪紙
(including papercuts)

The invention of paper to write on was done much earlier in China than in Europe. Thus, the technique to make paper was much more advanced than in Europe. The oldest fans in China are round, but during the Song Dynasty 宋, the foldable type developed because it was very comfortable to put it in the sleeves (the old Chinese didn't know trouser pockets). Painted with oil colors, paper fans and umbrellas could even withstand rain.
Paper was used to write on, to paint on and to fold it to make things of a new shape. The most advanced art of folding paper is the Japanese origami 折り紙. But also China knows this technique and creates wonderful models of ships (left), houses, animals and much more like the theatre figure on the right.
One kind of paper art is the kite, that was only copied by Europeans in the 18th century. The Chinese kites can be very great and then have to be manoevered by several people.
Paper cutting (jianzhi 剪紙) is a very popular art all over China. First, paper is painted with the colors of the object-to-be. Cutting the whole shape out of the ground paper and making the details, one gets whole sets of figures like the zodiacal animals or heroes from popular tales.
Much more complicated is this object that shows two of the Eight Fairies (Ba Xian 八仙), accurately painted in different colors. Their names can be read over their heads, cut in paper like the whole background.

  © 2000 ff · Ulrich Theobald · Mail