It’s been two years since I blogged about Chinese paper cuts. That post was one of the first I wrote, and to sum it up, I lamented not buying enough Chinese handicrafts before I moved away from Hong Kong in 1998.
So on my trip to Hong Kong last month, I was determined to stockpile little gifts I could give away back in the US. Chinese paper cuts would be perfect! (These are the ones I bought in 1996 and sent to my paternal grandmother.)
Since my trip was so rushed, I must confess I didn’t put in extra time looking for cut outs. (The places where I used to buy them are long gone.) I’ve blogged about the gifts I bought my kids and the cheongsams I bought for myseslf. First things first, but still…
As luck would have it, we had some leftover Hong Kong dollars when we returned to the airport for our departure. I motioned Tom toward a bookstore and low and behold–I found cut outs! A colorful dragon:
And this red dragon. It is the Year of the Dragon, after all. I also bought a cut out of a fish with the Chinese character for good luck (but I’ve given that away already).
Each one is 100% hand cut (it’s one piece; no pasting together) and came from far away: Hohhot, Inner Mongolia!
According to a little insert in the card’s package written by one Xing Ruirong, Chinese paper cutting dates back to the Eastern Han dynasty (AD25-220). Popular paper cuts also include birds, fish, landscapes, other animals, and the Chinese characters for good luck and a happy marriage. They’re placed on windows and doors for birthdays, the Chinese New Year, weddings, and other celebrations and festivals.
I’ve already given away two of the five cards I bought.