The Enchanting Art of Paper-cutting 巧藝東西

Switzerland and Foshan, China 瑞士及中國佛山剪紙

Edited by Anita Wong 黃燕芳 編

ISBN : 978-962-803-859-6

Film, Media, Fine Arts Distributed for HKU Museum and Art Gallery 香港大學美術博物館

January 2006

180 pages, 9″ x 12″, illustrations throughout

  • HK$80.00





The art of paper-cutting originated in China. Its easy mastery requiring only simple tools such as scissors or cutters made it a popular craft among amateur artists. Paper-cuts were produced to decorate windows, walls, ceilings and doors during the Chinese New Year and for wedding ceremonies to enhance the festive atmosphere. The art of paper-cutting was transmitted to the West via Indonesia, Persia and the Balkans during the seventeenth century.

Paper-cuts are principally two-dimensional visual representations made using scissor-cutting, carving, chiselling and printing, covering a wide variety of themes. The major subject matter of both Eastern and Western are countryside scenes: herding sheep and cattle, working in the fields, as well as plants, fruits, birds and animals in nature. Chinese paper-cuts also include other themes such as auspicious subjects, legends and operatic characters.

Nowadays the art of paper-cutting has evolved from traditional folk art into an art form in its own right. By developing the art of paper-cutting in new directions, Swiss and Chinese artists have introduced cutting techniques to achieve new forms of artistic expression, combining tradition and modernity.

This catalogue features 45 paper-cuts by anonymous artists and ten contemporary Chinese artists from Foshan, Guangdong province, and 55 recent paper-cuts by fifteen contemporary Swiss artists. The Chinese exhibits can be divided into three categories dating to the late Qing/early Republican period, the Cultural Revolution and Modern period. The Swiss paper-cuts, on the other hand, are all recent works by contemporary artists. These exhibits not only express strong local characteristics but also demonstrate the artistic achievements of paper-cutting in both the East and West.