Possibly Interesting Snippets of Papercutting History. Episode 1.

Hi all, in an attempt to communicate a bit more with you, our lovely customers, Emma and I thought it would be a fun idea to try our hands at writing a regular blog.

Since we’ve named ourselves Paper Artist UK and spend most of our time surrounded by tiny bits of cut out paper, we thought it would be good to share some of the more interesting facts and anecdotes we’ve come across on the subject of the ancient art of cutting paper into recognisable shapes.

Firstly, paper cutting really is an ancient art, traced back to the 4th century AD during the Han dynasty, not long after paper itself was invented (bear with me – it gets marginally more exciting) During this period, according to Chinese folklore, Emperor Wu’s favourite wife died. As you’d expect he was very sad and missed her tremendously. In order to help him with his grief, he had a papercut image of her made and hung in his bedroom window. That way, when he lit a candle, the shadow of her image shone into his bedroom. I think this is beautifully romantic (let’s not mention the ‘not favourite’ wives, who may have found her shadowy image slightly unnerving) This could well be the first incidence of paper cutting being used to capture a person’s likeness and to celebrate them, which is one of the ways the craft is still used. I love that our pieces at Paper Artist UK are all about celebrating people and their relationships (and it’s even better when there aren’t any ‘not favourite’ wives to worry about upsetting) 

As an extra incentive for you to engage with my ramblings, we are going to give away this beautiful piece you can see Emma cutting in this video. It’s her own interpretation of Emperor Wu’s favourite wife. Hand cut from 160gsm Daler Rowney cartridge paper, fitted to a mount, ready to fit an A4 frame. 

To be in with a chance of winning (and to join our mailing list if you’re not already signed up) please leave a comment on this blog post (a simple ‘I want this!’ – or ‘wow! this is the most amazing papercut I’ve ever seen’ – will do) I’ll get Emma to pick the lucky winner out of a hat on Valentine’s Day. 

Did you know paper cutting was an ancient Chinese craft? Do you have any questions about paper cutting? Ask away, or just say hi, in the comments. I really would love to hear from you, I’m not that fond of shouting into the void, I do that regularly at home 😉

If you’ve stuck with me this far, thank you! I’ll be back with Episode 2 in the not too distant future. Good luck 🙂 

Maddi x

17 thoughts on “Possibly Interesting Snippets of Papercutting History. Episode 1.”

  1. That’s SO interesting, I had no idea of this history! We learned a bit of ancient Chinese history on a recent trip to Beijing, but not this, unless I’ve forgotten it 🤔 highly likely, doh!
    More ancient history please 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 Beautiful image too ❤️

  2. Emma’s 5-year-old nephew says, “Well she’s gooder than me!”. If you’ve met him, you’ll know that’s high praise indeed. Very interesting blog – thanks for making us all a little bit more knowledgable. ❤️

    • Ha Ha! Maybe it’s genetic and he’ll also be a ninja with a scalpel when he’s older 😉 Thanks so much for your kind words, Maddi x

  3. It was very VERY hard to give my aunt the papercut I commissioned from you for her birthday. I’d love to win your beautiful papercut lady to adorn my own walls!
    PS love the idea of the blog and your snippets of history

  4. I would love to win this! It’s beautiful and I am fascinated by Chinese history. Love the first blog! Charlotte x

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