Shiliuyun-Xinjiang Daily (Reporter Zhang Haifeng): On one morning in late autumn, 65-year-old Wang Ge, the inheritor intangible cultural heritage of Xinjiang paper cutting, started her work at the spacious sunlit study room. She, wearing reading glasses, took tiny knife and exquisite scissors out and cut various shapes such as scenery and figures on a large sheet of Xuan paper spreading on the desk. In recent days, she has started making a magnificent color-dotted paper cutting work - ‘the Panorama of Xinjiang’.
Photo shows the color-dotted paper cutting work ‘Craftsman’ by Wang Ge.
Wang Ge is an inheritor of intangible cultural heritage of paper cutting of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China. Since she witnessed her mother and grandmother made paper cuttings for adorning windows or collars, and of the Chinese character ‘囍’ (meaning happiness in Chinese language) in her childhood, she fell in love with the traditional Chinese folk art. “The traditional Chinese paper cutting falls into the South School and the North School. The former is dominated by knife carving, with fine and smooth lines, and the later is dominated by scissor cutting, which has unrestrained lines and styles,” said Wang Ge.
In her 50-year art career, she integrated the styles of the South and North schools, innovating characteristic Xinjiang Paper Cutting. She accumulates materials with Xinjiang elements, including scenery, dances, foods, ethnic instruments, characteristic costumes and landmark buildings, etc. Her works feature concise patterns and exquisite details full of Xinjiang style, gaining many awards across the whole country.
Photo shows the color-dotted paper cutting ‘Daolang Meshrep’ by Wang Ge.
Wang Ge had always been eager to make traditional Chinese paper cutting more colorful, until she met color-dotted paper cutting, the world-class intangible cultural heritage originated from Hebei Province, and she made a decision of introducing it to Xinjiang. “The color-dotted paper cutting needs sketching on white Xuan paper first, then cutting patterns out of the paper, and painting them by mineral pigments.”
The ‘Road and Belt’ is her representative work of color-dotted paper cutting, which is gorgeous and exquisite. Her another masterpiece is ‘Daolang Meshrep’, expressing a scene that people dance and sing under grape trellis to celebrate harvest. “During the tour for collecting materials and creative ideas in Aksu Prefecture, I witnessed this scene. It has so many figures that is hard to express through color-dotted paper cutting, but once completed, the work is more valuable in admiration and aesthetics,” said Wang.
Photo shows the color-dotted paper cutting ‘Road and Belt’ by Wang Ge.
In recent years, for promoting the folk art well, Wang has made her works into various creative cultural works such as bookmarks, scarves and china, and runs a paper cutting cultural creative work shop at the International Grand Bazaar of Xinjiang, which is popular among tourists, making paper cutting assimilated in everyday life.
She found that the color-dotted paper cutting is hard to create, though, is popular among young generations. Recently, when she watched an animated ‘A Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains’ (a Chinese blue-green landscape painting created in Song Dynasty and collected in the Palace Museum), she got inspired. “The video integrates major national projects and achievements in recent years with the famous painting, which expresses both the beauty of Chinese art and the atmosphere of the time. An incredible idea soon came up in my mind that making a color-dotted paper cutting ‘Panorama of Xinjiang’ containing famous scenic spots in 14 prefectures and cities of Xinjiang! That must be marvelous! Only through innovation and inheritance can old intangible cultural heritage keep vigorous,” said Wang Ge excitedly.
At present, Wang Ge is busy making paper cutting works ordered by some scenic spots and tour groups in Xinjiang. She said, “The report delivered by General Secretary Xi Jinping to the 20th CPC National Congress pointed out that, China will carry forward excellent Chinese traditional cultures. As an inheritor of intangible cultural heritage, I will do my best to promote the traditional art.”
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