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Exhibition: Paper Cuts by Chinese artist Guan Xiaoyun

Understanding China: Paper Cuts by Chinese artist Guan Xiaoyun

20 February to 31 March 2012.

This selection of Guan Xiaoyun’s work is displayed in three parts:

Tales of Twelve Ladies from Dream of Red Mansions in Jinling City
(红楼梦金陵十二钗)

The Elegant Eight of the Qinhuai River
(秦淮八艳)

Romance of the Western Chamber
(西厢记)

Chinese Paper Cutting or Jianzhi (剪纸) is the original form of paper cutting from the Eastern Han Dynasty in China. This practice later spread to other parts of the world with different regions adopting their own cultural styles.

In Eastern Han Dynasty, the people with access to paper for crafting purposes were most often nobility. The Song Dynasty scholar Chou Mi mentioned several paper cutters who cut paper with scissors into a great variety of designs and characters. From the 7th to 13th century, paper cutting became popular especially during Chinese holiday festivals. By the end of the Qing Dynasty in the late 19th century, new styles were being introduced. In the 1980s the paper cut practice was revived by the Republic of China.

This exhibition is presented by the Confucius Institute, Art & Heritage Collections, and Rare Books & Special Collections of the University of Adelaide.

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