China is known for its long history of traditional art forms, including the art of paper-cutting.
The traditional art can be found mainly in Mandarin-speaking regions around the world, especially in the rural areas of China.
在2009年，剪紙藝術被列為聯合國教科文組織（UNESCO）的年度人類非物質文化遺產（Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity）。
Paper-cutting was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
However, it is a dying craft as many younger Chinese are choosing other forms of profession and entertainment over paper-cutting.
To prevent that from happening, paper-cutting master Tu Yonghong (塗永紅) has devoted her life to the creation of paper-cuttings, and even founded the Xi An Ding Yi Paper-cutting Society (西安鼎藝剪紙社) in 2003 to encourage the public to take up the art.
“I think we cannot blame children now for not showing interest in paper cutting,” Tu said, adding that children “don’t really get many opportunities to learn more.”
The society is also actively collecting paper-cuttings and researching traditional paper-cutting designs with the aim of building a database for future reference so that the art does not get lost in history.
Renowned for its intricate designs and techniques, paper-cutting is traditionally associated with femininity, with many Chinese girls learning the craft from their mothers in the past.
The ability to produce good paper-cuttings used to be an indication of the brilliance of the matriarch or the females in the household, as paper-cutting requires deft hands and a sharp mind, Tu shared.
“It showed their capabilities to do other things well too,” she quipped.
However, gone are the days when paper cuttings were found only on windows or used solely for decorative purposes.
Nowadays, they can also be used as accessories, like the earrings Tu created with her paper-cutting.
The increasing uses of paper-cuttings in modern times may attract more to take up the craft, which certainly spells hope for the dying trade.
With the pandemic still raging, now might be a good time to stay home, pick up a pair of scissors, and try your hand at paper-cutting.