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Chinese paper cuttings (2014).

Papercutting or paper cutting is the art of

cutting paper designs. The art has evolved
uniquely all over the world to adapt to
different cultural styles. One traditional
distinction most styles share in common
is that the designs are cut from a single
sheet of paper as opposed to multiple
adjoining sheets as in collage.


A silhouette of Goethe (1778).

Paper cut art appeared during the Han
Dynasty in 4th century AD after the
Chinese ofcial, Cai Lun invented paper in
105 AD.[1] The oldest surviving paper cut
out is a symmetrical circle from the 6th
century Six Dynasties period found in
Xinjiang China.[2][3] Papercutting
continued to be practiced during the Song
and Tang Dynasties as a popular form of
decorative art.[3]

By the eighth or ninth century

papercutting appeared in West Asia and in
Turkey in the 16th century. The knowledge
of Paper making did not reach Europe
until the 13th century so papercutting
could only have arrived after that. In
Switzerland and Germany for example it
was not until the 16th century that
papercut art or scherenschnitte was
established (see also silhouette).


Chinese paper cutting, in a style that is practically

identical to the original 6th-century form
Jianzhi (), is a traditional style of
papercutting in China and it originated
from cutting patterns for rich Chinese
embroideries and later developed into a
folk art in itself. Jianzhi has been
practiced in China since at least the 6th
Century AD Jianzhi has a number of
distinct uses in Chinese culture, almost all
of which are for health, prosperity or
decorative purposes. Red is the most
commonly used color. Jianzhi cuttings
often have a heavy emphasis on Chinese
characters symbolizing the Chinese
zodiac animals.
Although paper cutting is popular around
the globe, only the Chinese paper cut was
listed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural
Heritage Lists, which was in 2009.[4] The
Chinese paper-cutting was recognized and
listed because it has a history of more
than 1500 years and it represents cultural
values of the people throughout China.

Modern paper cutting has developed into

a commercial industry. Papercutting
remains popular in contemporary China,
especially during special events like the
Chinese New Year or weddings.[5]

Japanese paper cutting is called Kirie or
Kirigami (literally meaning cut picture). It
is said to have developed after 610 AD
when Tesuki Washi paper, invented in
China, was brought to Japan by Doncho, a
Buddhist monk from Korea. The Japanese
were the rst to commercialise paper
making by hand and by 800 AD their skills
were unrivalled.[6] The abundance of
Japanese washi meant paper cutting and
offshoots such as Kamikiri (performance
papercutting in Edo Japan) developed at a
very fast pace.

The washi paper used most

predominantly across the world today for
paper cutting, book binding, tapes and
multiple other uses is not Tesuki washi
but actually Japanese Sekishu washi, a
paper developed around 800 AD in the
Sekishu region (modern day Iwami in
Japan)[1] and designated a UNESCO
Intangible Cultural asset in 2009.[7] Paper
cutting continues today in Japan in
contemporary forms such as framed art,
installations and paper cut sculpture.

Indonesian traditional art has been
influenced by traditional Chinese Artisans.
Batik is an Indonesian traditional art and
paper cutting. Batik is framed in prole to
expose the intricate detail of Batik.

Several Philippine crafts employ paper
cutting. During Filipino Christmas, the
parol (a traditional star-shaped lantern) is
embellished with coloured paper cut into
various forms such as floral designs on
the faces, pom-pons and "tails" on the
points of the star.

There is also the art of pabalt (wrapper),

where coloured paper is meticulously cut
with small scissors and used to sheathe
pastillas de leche (carabao milk candy) and
other traditional sweets. Paper cutting is
also involved in the creation of banderitas
(bunting) that feature prominently in esta
dcor; these may be elaborate or plain-cut
paper squares and triangles strung over

Sanjhi is the Indian art of paper cutting.
The cut paper is usually placed on the
floor and colors are lled in to make


Mizrah papercut, Eastern Europe, 19th century

Papercutting has been a common Jewish

art form since the Middle Ages, connected
with various customs and ceremonies,
and associated with holidays and family
life. Paper cuts often decorated ketubot
(marriage contracts), Mizrahs, and for
ornaments on festive occasions. A story
tells of Rabbi Shem-Tov ben Yitzhak ben
Ardutiel, nding that his ink had frozen,
continued to write the manuscript by
cutting the letters into the paper. By about
the 17th century, papercutting had
become a popular form for small religious
artifacts such as Mizrachs and Shavuot
decorations. In the 20th century, the art of
Jewish papercutting was revived in Israel.
Today it is most commonly used for
mizrachs and ketubot.

Papel picado is the Mexican art of paper
cutting. Tissue paper is cut into intricate
designs with scissors or small, sharp
chisels; this technique is frequently used
to produce decorative banners.

Christmas is when flowers of cut and
manipulated paper, fringed candy holders
called crackers,[8] and Ljuskrona which are
covered with cut paper, are found in
Swedish and Swedish-American homes.

There is a Swiss tradition of paper-cutting,
especially in the Pays-d'Enhaut.

Silhouette can refer to the art of cutting
outlines or portraits out of black paper.
Modern-day papercutters typically follow
one or more of the "traditional" styles
listed above, while others have begun to
expand the art into new styles, motifs, and
designs. Contemporary papercutting is
also sometimes associated with the art of
stenciling, itself being derived from
techniques used in grafti art. The use of
hand-cut stencils in grafti art has
received international attention in recent
years due in part to the artist Banksy.

Notable papercut artists

Joanna Koerten (16501715) Dutch
artist skilled in Silhouette work.
Adele Schopenhauer (1797-1849)
German author and artist and sister of the
philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer
Hans Christian Andersen (18051875)
Danish author also known for papercut
Henry Matisse (1869-1954) is a French
artist, who explored the use of paper-cut
illustration and decoupage.
Lotte Reiniger (18991981), maker of
Silhouette lms.
Jeanette Kuvin Oren (born 1961)
American papercut artist
HongsJnag (born in Seoul, 1965) is a
Korean paper craft engineer.
Peter Callesen (born 1967) is a Danish
artist and author.
Kara Walker (born 1969), a
contemporary African American artist.
Lane Twitchell (born 1967), a
contemporary American Landscape artist.
Nahoko Kojima (born 1981),
professional contemporary Japanese
Paper Cut Artist. Pioneered sculptural
Paper Cuts hanging in 3d.
Nikki McClure, American papercut
Richard Schuchman (born 1966),
American layered papercut artist
William Schaff (born 1973) is an
American artist from Warren, Rhode
Island. His original paper cutting was
used for the cover of the album "I am Very
Far" by Okkervil River.
Rob Ryan is a British artist known for
his papercutting and screen-printing.
Risa Fukui is a Japanese artist known
for her distinct style of Kirie portraits.
Nancy Michalak American paper cut
artist known for her paper cut and collage
multi-layered art.

See also
Wikimedia Commons has media related

to Paper cutting.

Chad (paper), left over fragments from

Chinese paper folding
Chinese paper cutting
Leaf carving
Vytynanky (Wycinanki)

1. Washi, Sekishu. "History of Sekishu
Washi" . Retrieved 9 March 2017.
2. Needham, Joseph. Chemistry and
Chemical Technology. [1974] (1974).
Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-
3. Michael Sullivan; Franklin D. Murphy
(1996). Art and Artists of Twentieth-Century
China. University of California Press. p.150.
4. "Chinese paper-cut" . UNESCO. Retrieved
16 October 2011.
5. "Paper Cutting". Folklore: An Encyclopedia
of Beliefs, Customs, Tales, Music, and Art .
ABC-CLIO. 2011. p.285. ISBN978-1-59884-
6. Jacobi, Nancy. "About Washi" . Retrieved 9
March 2017.
7. "Japanese Washi Paper" . UNESCO.
Retrieved 16 October 2011.
8. Astrim, Catarina Lundgren,. Swedish
Christmas in America . ISBN978-

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