Young paper-cutting inheritor tells stories with scissors
Wang Siwen

Paper-cutting is one of the oldest and the most popular folk arts in China, and it is a unique artistic treasure and also an important representative of Chinese intangible cultural heritage. We meet with Shi Qinling, one of the paper-cutting inheritors in Shanghai.

Without tracing a line, paper-cutting artist Shi can create an animal pattern within five minutes. Born in 1987, She has worked in this field for 13 years and has been named a Shanghai paper-cutting inheritor, the city's youngest inheritor of the paper-cutting heritage.

"Paper-cutting needs you to concentrate and settle down. Do it slowly. I gradually fell in love with this art," paper-cutting inheritor Shi said.

Like brushes to painters, scissors allow her to create art whenever inspiration comes. "I am inspired by moments in daily life, animals, plants, or things I saw, and then I create them."

After becoming interested in handicrafts when she was a child, paper-cutting gradually became Shi's passion. It wasn't easy when she first started.

"It was very boring at the beginning. I needed to practice the basic skills for 3-4 years, like cutting one single shape daily on paper. It requires many failures before successes," Shi said.

Paper-cutting artworks are often used to decorate doors and windows. They are believed to symbolize luck and happiness and are mostly seen on special occasions such as Chinese Spring Festival.

Paper cutting also comes in different styles. Shanghai paper-cutting has a combination of northern and western, combining irregular patterns and exquisite workmanship.

As an inheritor of Shanghai paper cutting, Shi has attended events to attract more people to learn paper cutting. "Paper-cutting can be used on leather goods or t-shirts, used as a derivative product. I also teach children, and I hope to continue promoting it, let them learn slowly and know about it," paper-cutting inheritor Shi said.

Shi also said she would continue honing her skills, cutting out her feelings, and telling stories with her pair of scissors.

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