2015

The Art of Cutting Paper with Zhang Muli

China Paper Cutting Museum

Zhang Muli
Representative inheritors of Yangzhou Paper-cuts, an item of intangible cultural heritage of Jiangsu province

Procedures of Paper-cutting: Draw patterns first.

then sketch,

then work on details,

now start cutting.

In the process of cutting.

Finish cutting.

One Hundred Horses, paper cut-out by Zhang Muli

Based on the long-scroll painting “One Hundred Horses” by the renowned Qing-dynasty court painter Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766 AD), this piece of paper cut-out reproduces the magnificent scene of one hundred horses with endless mountains and towering trees as the background. Marking an innovation and breakthrough of Yangzhou Paper-cuts, this piece is the largest in size among paper-cuts by scissors in Yangzhou.

One Hundred Horses, paper cut-out by Zhang Muli

Zen, paper cut-out by Zhang Muli.

Having achieved breakthroughs in terms of techniques of traditional paper cut-outs which were limited to the expressive skills in fine brushwork and line drawing, this piece had its figures crafted with the approaches of freehand painting.

It is rich in contents, fishing, playing the zither, watching the moon, preaching Buddhist sutra, creating a profound scene that symbolizes spiritual pursuit.

Zen, paper cut-out by Zhang Muli.

Zen, paper cut-out by Zhang Muli.

Zen, paper cut-out by Zhang Muli.

Autumn Splendor, paper cut-out by Zhang Muli

This piece reveals a scene of the autumn, the harvesting season that brings people endless delight.

Chrysanthemums of the autumn are comparable to peony blossoms in the spring, although most autumn plants are less glamourous than the spring ones.

The quaint flower table and the bonsais add special interest to this piece. The entire image looks elegant and delicate, showing a scene even more beautiful than the spring

Autumn Splendor, paper cut-out by Zhang Muli

Autumn Splendor, paper cut-out by Zhang Muli

Autumn Splendor, paper cut-out by Zhang Muli

Fragrant Flowers and Singing Birds, paper cut-out by Zhang Muli

This piece adopted the four plants representative of the four seasons, namely, cherry, lotus, grape and camellia, which, together with the paired flying birds and Chinese mandarin ducks, constitute a life-like scene that integrates stillness and liveliness.

The composition, with reference to the traditional Chinese perception of “round heaven and square earth”, looks both decorous and elegant. Regarding techniques, the artisan combined the “yin-cutting”, namely, outline-cutting featuring thin, flowing and connecting lines and the “yang-cutting”, namely, openwork-cutting known for no connections between lines and round cut corners.

Fragrant Flowers and Singing Birds, paper cut-out by Zhang Muli

Fragrant Flowers and Singing Birds, paper cut-out by Zhang Muli

Fragrant Flowers and Singing Birds, paper cut-out by Zhang Muli

Antique Vase, paper cut-out by Zhang Muli

This piece marks breakthrough of Yangzhou paper cuts in terms of both subjects and expressive methods.

With a form borrowed from the antique Chinese porcelain vases, this item endeavors to illustrate the atmosphere of profound meanings as depicted in Chinese poems of the Tang dynasty (581-960 AD) by integrating figures, landscape, birds, animals, flowers and calligraphy harmoniously in a simple composition.

Antique Vase, paper cut-out by Zhang Muli

Antique Vase, paper cut-out by Zhang Muli

Antique Vase, paper cut-out by Zhang Muli

Antique Vase, paper cut-out by Zhang Muli

Antique Vase, paper cut-out by Zhang Muli

China Paper Cutting Museum
Credits: Story

Wang Jing
Zhang Muli
Gao Xing

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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