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Paper-cuttings are pictures cut from paper, using scissors or blades. It has been around in China for about two thousand years. People generally paste these patterns on windows, lanterns, or doors to express the feelings of joy and life values. They look both beautiful and interesting, and are widely popular among Chinese.
On the north side of Di¡¯anmen East Street, a paper-cutting shop recently opened. Its name, Jinyi, means ¡®Golden Art¡¯ in English.
When I stepped into the shop yesterday afternoon, the shopkeeper Mr. Zhao greeted me at once. He hails from Yuxian, a county near Beijing nicknamed ¡®the village of paper-cuttings¡¯. Mr. Zhao¡¯s grandpa started making paper-cuttings, and now Mr. Zhao is the third generation in the family business.
He told me that a single paper-cutting usually features just one color, but can be layered to have a variety of patterns. Take the piece that depicted cows grazing on grass, for instance. You can see four colors, one on top of another: yellow, brown, green and black. This elaborate work, which cost 480 yuan, required four times the work of a single piece.
They also have small items ideal for gifts or souvenirs, like a set of 12 Chinese zodiac animals which opens up like a pamphlet (RMB 10). A finely-cut miniature Emperor¡¯s robe cost only RMB 3. They even have paper portraits of Einstein and Mona Lisa.
Mr. Zhao added that there will be an artisan making paper-cuttings on spot every day. Customers can learn the basics of the art free of charge. They also take custom orders.
What I appreciated
Folk handicraft, elaborate paper-cut works
What customers appreciate
Traditional works of art by hand, superb workmanship
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