Paper cutting is a technique to cut paper into various shapes by using scissor. In china, Paper-cutting is not just cutting the paper into pieces and throwing into the bin, it's one of the oldest and the most popular folk arts, which is widely used as decoration on walls, windows, doors, ceilings, lamps and so on. As a kind of Chinese traditional arts, its creation and development have close relationship with rural folklore and the Solar Terms, such as paper cutting for window decoration, door decoration and lamp decoration in Spring festival and lanterns festival. In northern countries, people placard colored paper cuttings on the white coverings of door, windows to create the festival atmosphere. Marriage paper cutting is put on the walls, furniture and other equipments in the bridal chamber. Chinese paper cuttings are rich in content. The auspicious designs stand for good luck and avoid evil ghosts, for example, child, cucurbit and lotus stand for a family with many children and grandchildren. Domestic birds, livestock, fruit, fish and worms are the main themes expressed by farmers. Due to the different areas, various kinds of paper cutting styles are formed. Shaanxi window paper cuttings are simple, bold and unconstrained; paper cuttings of Hebei and Shanxi province are colored and gorgeous, especially the figures in dramas; paper cuttings in Nanjing of Jiangsu province are delicate and bold.
Paper-cutting originated from ancient activities of worshipping ancestors and gods, and is a traditional Chinese culture. According to the present archaeological records, it originated from 6th century; however people believed that its history could be traced as early as the Warring States Period, long before the paper was invented. At that time, people used thin materials, like leaves, silver foil, silk and even leather, to carve hollowed patterns for beauty. Later, when paper was invented, people realized that this material was easy to cut, store and discard.
Yangzhou paper cutting has won the reputation as the representative of Southern paper cutting in China with its fluent shape, elegant composition, exaggerated image and creative technique. Wei town is regarded as the hometown of paper cutting. Firstly, Craftswomen cut the paper into delicate patterns and then dye the paper cutting bright color. Wei town is regarded as the hometown of paper cutting. Firstly, Craftswomen cut the paper into delicate patterns and then dye the paper cutting bright color. The main content of Wei town paper cutting is dramatis personae, flowers, grasses, fishes, worms, beasts and other auspicious objects which are full of pleasant, healthy feeling and the desire for happiness.
There are two methods of manufacture: one uses scissors, the other uses knives. In the scissor method, several pieces of paper — up to eight — are fastened together. Knife cuttings are fashioned by putting several layers of paper on a relatively soft foundation consisting of a mixture of tallow and ashes.