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Shao Meihan: The art of paper cuts originates from life

Updated:2018-10-18 18:51:40   927tour.com

Though she owns the titles of "inheritor of national intangible cultural heritage" and " paper-cutting artist", Shao Meihan prefers to call herself "one who knows how to do paper-cutting".

Shao Meihan comes from Nongme Village of Mang City, west Yunnan’s Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture. In the village, the paper cuts enjoy greater popularity. Shao Meihan started to learn paper-cutting from her grandma and mother in 1981 at the age of 15.

Showing great love to the art, Shao is also willing to spend time in cutting papers. She likes to cut patterns of scenes of life the most. When she cuts a peacock opening its tail, she would “sketch” a peacock in her mind, with every detail precisely. "The peacock keeps its tail open and look proud," she explained. In her works showing Dai girls, you can tell the girls’ slender waist, graceful body movements and even the sweet smile.

The Dai paper cutting was first used in Buddhism sacrifices, and as time goes by, its theme and content have been constantly enriched. Nowadays, ethnic customs and culture have become an inspiration source of the art. In 2006, the Dai paper-cutting of Mang City was approved by China’s State Council to be inscribed into the first batch of National Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

In order to pass on the art, Shao uses her spare time to teach children and women from nearby villages. Local education bureau and cultural bureau also invites her to teach primary school teachers and students. She was named as the inheritor of the Dai paper cutting in 2012, and two years later, the Shao Meihan Dai Paper Cutting Art Gallery was launched and became the first of its kind in China. It not only demonstrates a large number of excellent paper cuts by Shao, but also provides a platform for paper-cutting enthusiasts to communicate. 

Text by Yang Xiujie, photos by Meng Zhigang and Guo Qiuyue

Keywords:   paper cuts