Paper-cut for window decoration
Spring Festival is the largest traditional festival in China. In the province of Shanxi, it is a great
pleasure to decorate one¨s home for the Spring Festival. People like cleaning, washing, pasting
window papercuts, attaching Spring Couplets, putting up New Year Paintings, and hanging up
colorful pictures over the wall.
In the vast Chinese countryside, papercuts are used as decorations on walls, doors, roofs,
and lanterns. Generally speaking, papercuts are pasted in courtyards, rooms and on everyday
goods to decorate the domestic environment and to add a cheerful atmosphere.
Chinese papercuts are rich in content. The designs symbolize good luck and the avoidance of
evil. Chinese farmers depicte objects such as domestic birds, livestock, fruits, fish, flowers and
worms. In different areas, papercuts have different characteristics.
The Shanxi window papercuts are simple, bucolically and delicate. Also, the papercuts are
applied with colors and portray many opera figures. In Shanxi, the original design is saved to
provide the pattern for embroidery. In this way traditional patterns have been handed on from
generation to generation.
Papercut works have been found in many Chinese relics, and the art form's history can be traced
back about 1,500 years to the Northern Dynasties (386-581). Though they require very simple
making skills, their contents are rich and reveal many local Chinese customs. Papercuts typically
demonstrate the preferred aesthetics of shape and the artistic concepts behind Chinese folk
handicrafts. An understanding and scrutiny of papercuts is a good beginning to get to know and
appreciate the complexity of Chinese folk arts.