After dinner we had the opportunity of visiting a Master Paper Cutter, who had a studio just across the road from our lodgings. Although tired, it was an opportunity not to be missed, particularly as we were going to get an out-of-hours demonstration.
Paper cutting is a craft that can be dated back to the 6th Century. I’d heard that, usually, professional paper cutters are males. So, I imagined the Master was going to be an old man with perhaps a long drooping, but wispy, grey moustache.
But, not so on this occasion. A middle-aged lady turned up shortly after we arrived. She is a Master cutter, following a long tradition of this handcraft by women. In the past, rural girls were expected to master this craft, and brides were often judged by their skills.
This Master set about showing us her skills, first folding the paper together.
She was quite a show woman!
After folding the paper, she started cutting it with a pair of very fine-nosed and sharp scissors. In no time at all she was unfolding the cut paper to reveal, not one but two, intricately detailed and different coloured butterflies. She’d tricked us by working with a piece of blue and a piece of green paper folded together. Her dexterity was amazing.
Some more of her multi-coloured work.
It was then our turn to see what kind of a mess we could make
with a pair of scissors and a piece of paper.
And the result is…
I got an MBE for this; My Bloody Effort!
She is certainly a Master of her craft!
Another of her intricate, delicate Paper Cuts. Truly amazing work.
Close up a larger piece… depiction of a regal male.
Detail of the head gear of the Paper Cut above.
And the full Paper Cut together with another work of art.
It is said to be easy to learn to make paper cuttings. However, to master the art takes much practice, great skill and exceptional imagination… and patience. We were very pleased that we had experienced this demonstration. Now, finally, we could go to bed and rest our weary bodies in preparation for another day walking up and down on the Great Wall.
All photography copyright © David Young of jtdytravels
Our other travel story and photo site is