By Wang Ruoxin, Wang Jinhong, Zhang Junye
As the Spring Festival of the Year of Dragon draws near, many folk artists have unveiled their remarkable craftworks centered around the Year of the Dragon. The program “Chinese Dragon in Folk Art” exhibits the dragon’s artistic representations through diverse forms of intangible cultural heritage, which not only highlights the richness of this cultural legacy but also underscores the paramount significance of the dragon culture and Chinese zodiac culture in Chinese civilization. The artistic depictions of the dragon symbolize auspiciousness and vitality, which are the totem’s positive attributes. Through their artistic works, inheritors are expressing their wishes for a new year marked by elevated lives and robust economic growth.
In the first episode, the program invited Chen Yumei, a distinguished district-level inheritor of the intangible heritage of papercutting from Fengtai District, Beijing. She showed us the collection of dragon-year papercutting artworks she crafted. Notably, her papercutting masterpiece, “The Spirit of Dragon and Horse,” incorporates dragon and horse images symbolizing a promising future, adorned with peony flowers representing prosperity and blossoms. She also brought creative cultural products like the auspicious pillow and a special calendar for the year of dragon. As Chen explained, "The definition of papercutting is to create a sense of transparency and artistic enjoyment visually." Therefore, apart from using colored paper as a medium, materials such as fabric, leather, silk, felt, gold and silver foil, bark, and leaves can all serve as mediums for the art of papercutting.