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On my visit to Baigong Handicrafts Museum recently, I discovered a paper-tearing shop on the second floor, which made me gasp in admiration for the dexterous hands of paper-tearing masters.
Paper-tearing, originated more than 1,500 years ago, is a branch of the paper-cutting art. Compared with regular paper-cutting, this art looks more original and more improvised, reminiscent of the Chinese traditional brush painting. A paper-tearing artisan tears the paper into an imagined design following his inclinations.
The shop owner, an elderly woman, is a master of this art. She told me she has been in love with paper-tearing since her childhood days. Today she is very renowned, and frequently asked to make head portraits for international celebrities. With the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, she even made paper-tearing portraits for Jacques Rogge and Juan Antonio Samaranch, current and former Chairmen of the International Olympic Committee.
Among the works on display, I saw many familiar figures. Chairman Mao¡¯s portrait was one of many historical figures made. I also saw works depicting ladies in the classic Chinese literature, Dream of the Red Mansion. In addition, you can find different paper-tears of each of the 12 traditional Chinese birth-animals. All above paper-tears cost RMB 40 each.
What I appreciated
Delicate paper-tearing works, skillful workmanship
What customers appreciate
Traditional Chinese handicraft, outstanding artisanship
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