Dedicated inheritor preserves skills of Horinger paper-cutting
A Horinger paper-cut used for warding off evil spirits [Photo by Ma Zhiyuan/chinanews.com]
For decades, craftsmen and artists in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia have sought ways to preserve and promote the traditional skills of Horinger paper-cutting.
Duan Jianjun, an inheritor of Horinger paper-cutting, is one of these artists working hard to promote the tradition.
Paper-cutting is a unique folk art that originated about 1,000 years ago in China. And Horinger paper-cutting, with its style of integrating the history and folk customs of the grasslands, is the most representative art in northern China.
According to Duan, this type of paper-cutting was originally developed by women living in rural areas of Horinger county.
Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, the development of Horinger paper-cutting has gone through ups and downs.
The urbanization and industrialization in the 1980s came as a shock to preserving the skills of Horinger paper-cutting.
“The rapid economic growth changed the folk customs and environment in the area, and young generations show little interest in inheriting the traditional skills,” Duan noted.
In 1998, Inner Mongolia established the Horinger Paper-cutting Association, the first of its kind in the region, with a goal of promoting the unique skills of the craft and protecting the art works.
According to the association, it has discovered more than 70,000 ancient pieces.
Duan has made great efforts to discover traditional patterns of Horinger paper-cutting and to reproduce works of Chinese masters since the establishment of the association.
Horinger paper-cutting had a fresh start with the national promotion of intangible cultural heritages.
In 2008, it was recognized as an intangible cultural heritage item by the national culture authority. And a year later, it was included in the list of intangible cultural heritages by the United Nations.
“As an inheritor of this craftsmanship, I'm confident to lay out a new path for the promotion and preservation of Horinger paper-cutting,” said Duan.
Duan Jianjun, an inheritor of Horinger paper-cutting exchanges skills with a local woman in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia autonomous region. [Photo by Ma Zhiyuan/chinanews.com]
Traditional patterns of Horinger paper-cutting [Photo by Ma Zhiyuan/chinanews.com]