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ICH inheritor in NW China’s Xinjiang integrates local features with paper-pulp sculptures

Zhang Guojing, a city-level inheritor of an intangible cultural heritage paper-pulp sculpture in Urumqi, capital city of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, brings local elements to her works, showcasing the beauty of local culture.

Photo shows one collection of Zhang Guojing’s paper-pulp sculpture called “I love my home.” (Chinanews.com/Zuo Dandan)

As a reflection of the splendid culture of Xinjiang, her works include a wide range of elements such as the impressive scenery of Kanas, galloping horses, pomegranate flowers and local cuisine.

The making of a paper-pulp sculpture starts with putting the paper pulp into the mold. When the molding is done, she removes the mold and attaches a piece of paper made from the bark of the mulberry tree onto the surface of the sculpture. Once the sculpture is dry, she paints it with different colors. “I quite like mulberry-bark paper,” Zhang said, adding that she has always wanted to make something innovative out of paper, a material commonly used for painting and calligraphy, and ended up with the idea of paper-pulp sculpture.

Zhang Guojing makes a paper-pulp sculpture. (Chinanews.com/Zuo Dandan)

One of her collections, called “I love my home,” which won the silver award of a national arts and crafts competition, includes many figurines about 30 centimeters high. Dressed in the costumes of Xinjiang’s numerous ethnic groups, the figurines hold local food such as naan bread and watermelons, as well as traditional musical instruments. “The luster of mulberry paper makes the paper an ideal material for showing the complexion of the figurine,” she said.

She registered many trademarks over the past 10 years, and has sold her work to customers in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Japan. “I will continue to explore local culture and produce more products, to share the rich culture of Xinjiang with a wider audience,” Zhang said.

Photo shows other cultural and creative products of Zhang Guojing. (Chinanews.com/Zuo Dandan)