#GuangmingLive# Experience Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritages with Smart Lady Series: Paper-cutting
时长：1小时 Duration: One hour
Hello everyone! Thanks for joining us. I’m your host Aria. Today, we’re at the activity center of Liumeng Jiayuan community. At festivals, thematic activities will be held here to enrich the life of the residents. Here we can see the Chinese paintings painted by children living in this community. This is the square dance team of the community, and this is the activity of sachet embroidery held at the mid-autumn festival.
Paper-cutting is a folk art of paper designs. People use scissors or knives to make different patterns on the paper. Paper-cuts are always used as daily decorations or parts of folk activities. It’s one of the oldest folk art in China. The carved patterns bring visual enjoyment to people. At festivals or wedding ceremonies, people put up beautiful paper-cuts on windows, walls, doors, and lanterns, thus the festive atmosphere prevails. According to the records, paper-cutting dates from the Northern Dynasties. At that time, the paper-cutting technique was already very sophisticated. Now, thousands of years have passed. Countless craftsmen made improvements and innovations, so now we have the updated version of paper-cutting. Here, we can see some paper-cutting works. The characters are from the ancient classic stories. The creator of these paper-cutting works is Ms. Chen Yumei. She always come here to hold paper-cutting activities for residents. Now let’s invite our old friend Han Mengchen. She will give us an introduction to our guest.
Here we have Ms. Chen Yumei. She is a representative bearer of paper-cutting, a project on the list of intangible cultural heritage. She will tell us her story about paper-cutting.
Ms. Chen, let’s greet our audiences!
We just mentioned that Ms. Chen is a representative bearer of paper-cutting. Your works have gone global, and you’ve reached a great achievement. How did you get to know the paper-cutting?
Thank you Aria. I was influence by my family. I was fond of paper-cutting since I was a child, and my paper-cutting skills are handed down from my mother.
Chen Yumei inherits her mother’s paper-cutting techniques, combining cutting with carving. She has developed a wide variety of patterns from the original patterns of window flowers and embroidery works. Her works are very popular. For example, her work “Green Peace” won the silver award in the first national calligraphy and painting art competition. Her work “Flowers of Universal Language” won the gold award in the ninth paper-cutting art exhibition of the three northeastern provinces and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
You’ve been engaged in the paper-cutting handicraft for so many years, and how do you make of it?
Paper-cutting is not only a handicraft, a technique, but also a form of art and culture. If you just want to make paper-cuts more beautiful and more delicate, then you only need to solve the technical problems. It only takes a few months, or a few years at most. The difficult thing is not how to do the paper-cutting works, but how to create and how to express your thoughts through paper-cutting. Traditional paper-cutting works always express wishes for a better life. We always say that the imagery of paper cutting means auspiciousness. Our Chinese culture is rich and profound. A good work must carry some cultural implications in it, and I think this is why the paper-cutting can be passed down in our country for so many years.
In addition to the traditional paper-cutting works, you’re also good at cutting silhouette figures. Could you please give us an introduction to it? What are its characteristics? When did you start to create this kind of artworks?
Cutting silhouette figures is not a difficult thing. First you need to spend more time observing people, so as to catch their features like facial form and hair style. Then you can just reproduce it. I’ve been working on silhouette figures for many years, and I’ve also made several paper-cuts of human portrait.
In addition to artistic creation, you also offered paper-cutting trainings to the disabled to help them obtain employment. What’s your intention of doing this?
I’m a representative bearer of paper-cutting, a project on the list of intangible cultural heritage. It’s our task to pass on our traditional art. I helped the disabled obtain employment, so they can earn money and the ability to support themselves. I also think that employment can help them improve their self-confidence and eliminate inferiority feeling. They’ll know that they are useful to our society.
What do you think are the positive influences of bringing intangible cultural heritage into schools? Did you gain anything from teaching children the knotting art?
I think it’s a very good activity and will have some positive effects on the inheritance of intangible cultural heritage. I think we also need to promote our intangible cultural heritage, and to make innovations. I think we can combine the traditional craftsmanship with high-tech to create something more beautiful with higher value for collection. This might be the task for the next generation. While teaching children paper-cutting, I found that they all have great thoughts and creativity, so I think we can learn many things from them.
What changes do you think have taken place in the development of traditional art and techniques? As a smart lady and bearer of craftsmanship, do you have any wishes for our homeland to mark the 70th anniversary of PRC?
Today, some of the traditional folk art have undergone a radical change, from a form of practical culture in life to a form of historical culture. It has become a memory and symbol of history. To pass on traditional folk art, we should conform to the changes of different times. We should grow root in the soil of ethnic culture to maintain the unique ethnic characteristics. As a smart lady and bearer of intangible cultural heritage, I wish our homeland prosperity and strength. I hope that we can realize the Chinese dream of under the leadership of president Xi Jinping.
Do you have any innovations in the artistic creation, promotion and development of paper-cutting?
We should keep up with the times and be closer to life. We also should combine the tradition with the modern values, and create works conveying positive values.
You’ve taken part in many international activities held in China. What do you think is the role paper-cutting played in your communication with foreign friends?
At international activities, the traditional art of paper-cutting play a positive role in promoting art communication and friendship.
We just mentioned that Ms. Chen has won many awards. Her works of paper-cutting was collected by the UN International Week of Science and Peace. Please show us some of your works.
This is a work displayed at the opening ceremony of UN International Week of Science and Peace in the Great Hall of People on Nov.9, 2008. The surroundings of this work are olive branches that symbolize peace. The five rings in the middle represent the five continents. There’re also Chinese landmarks, peace doves, auspicious clouds, and the traditional Chinese Fu character, wishing people all over the world peace and good fortune.
Landscape of Beijing
This work is of the iconic buildings of Beijing, showing the prosperity of Beijing, China’s political, economic, cultural, and modern metropolis.
Celebration of the National Day, the Affection of Family and Nation
I just finished this work to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of PRC. In the middle is the Tian’anmen Square, the landmark building of our country. The whole nation celebrates the National Day. People from all the ethnic groups are singing and dancing. We all know the legend of Magpie Bridge of our country. It’s a symbol of love and family. Only when our mother land becomes powerful can we live a happy life. So here, I wish our motherland prosperity.
Fish leaping over the dragon gate
In the center of this work is the image of a fish leaping over the dragon gate, surrounded by six heart shapes. In the traditional culture, the number six symbolizes harmony, auspiciousness, fertility, and success. The copper coin is the symbol of wealth. This work expresses the wish for financial wealth, successful enterprise, happiness of the family, and a good health. This work won the first prize in the craftsmanship competition of the third professional skill competition in Beijing in 2012.
Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival
Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival, drawn by Zhang Zeduan of the Northern Song Dynasty, is one of China’s most famous paintings. It vividly depicts the cityscape of Bianjing in the Northern Song Dynasty and the living conditions of people at that time.
Here we have some artworks of Ms. Chen. They are very beautiful and interesting. Now, let’s learn paper-cutting!
What’s the type of paper-cutting we’re making today?
We’re going to make a single-colored flower today.
The tools we need.
The tools needed for paper-cutting include scissors, carving knife and wax board. But we only need scissors today.
Steps of paper-cutting:
Firstly, prepare a piece of square-shaped paper.
Secondly, fold the paper along the middle as shown.
Thirdly, fold both sides inward at 1/3 of the center line.
The fourth step is to fold the paper in half down the middle.
The fifth step is as shown. Draw the outline of 1/6 of the pattern on the paper, and take care not to draw the pattern beyond the paper.
The sixth and the final step. As shown in the picture above, cut with scissors along the drawn line.
Are painting skills required for doing paper-cutting? How to make paper-cutting works look more natural? Painting skills are not necessary. Many paper-cutting masters can’t draw. But painting skills can help you learn paper-cutting faster. If you want to make a good paper-cutting work, you should be able to master the essentials of paper-cutting, and do it carefully.
五、结语：[ Editor: Shi Ruoqi ]