Tianshi Paper Cutting

Tianshi paper cutting is a type of traditional folk art that originates from the Yijun town of the Shanxi Province during the Tang dynasty. After the declaration of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the influence of Tianshi paper cutting spread overseas towards foreign countries.

Tianshi paper cutting products can take the form of one of the following groups: humans, animals, birds or plants. The main purpose of these decorations are split into four main divisions: Chinese New Year, weddings, embroidery and religion etiquette. With fast and precise results, the products of Tianshi paper cutting are good correlations of composition efficiency. Whether it be animals, humans or flowers, the ingenuity of the pieces cannot be immediately seen. However, the final product is jubilant, giving off an aura of fresh originality. Each piece is rich with hidden meanings and backstories, with almost every one relating to folktales or legends. An example would be a “Baby Sitting on a Lotus Flower”, which represents fecundity.

In 1996, Tian Xing was awarded the title of “Folk Artist” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the Chinese Folk Artist Association. Due to her efforts, Tianshi paper cutting art has lasted and been passed down for five generations. In recent years, Tian Xing has created multiple agricultural-themed folk murals with rich compositions in the style of Tianshi paper cutting, and achieved positive acclaim from a wide audience.

This piece is a translated work, translated from Chinese to English as part of the Shenzhen Nonmaterial Heritage Project of Shenzhen Polytechnic University and Shenzhen Museum.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.