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As one of China's most popular folk art, paper cutting enjoys an old history dating back to the 6th century. Paper cuts in Yi County, Hebei Province are the best in the business. And a place in Beijing where you can find a huge selection of paper cuts from Yi is the shop Jian Yi Xuan.
I found Jian Yi Xuan on the Jiao Dao Kou Street, where I was absolutely amazed by the beautiful displays. Although I see simple paper cuts all the time in Beijing, none come close to matching many of the pieces in the shop
As I watched these grand, complicated designs, I could not believe they were simply made from paper. One set I loved had four scrolls depicting the four seasons. The detail is so fine I could actually see a wrinkle on a face. The shop assistant told me a set like this, with 2 to 3 layers, took 3 months to make by multiple artists.
Scroll of the Brightness Festival on the River, the biggest paper cut in Jian Yi Xuan, measured 26 feet long. Based on an old painting, it depicts hundreds of people walking in a bustling city.
For gift ideas or souvenirs, Jian Yi Xuan offers small paper cuts. An 8 inch by 4 inch picture costs only RMB 20. These can be used on doors or walls to bring happiness and luck.
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