Paper cut, also known as paper carving, is a kind of hollowing-out art and visually leaves a sense of seeing through and gives us artistic enjoyment. Materials for paper cutting can include paper, gold or silver foil, bark, cloth and leather. As a traditional special craft, paper-cut art usually can be found in Shanxi, Shaanxi, Hebei, Zhejiang, Hubei, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Fujian and many other places and can be divided into southern faction and northern faction. Southern faction is represented by Hubei Mianyang paper cut, Guangdong Foshan paper cut and Fujian folk paper cut. Northern faction is represented by Shanxi paper cut, Yuxian paper cut, Shaanxi folk paper cut and magnetic paper cut, and Shandong folk paper cut.
Paper cuts are mainly themed around folktales or traditional designs and each has its own unique style. Jiangping paper cut in Shanxi, as the most representative one in northern faction, has developed into a colourful artistic language which seeks complicity from simplicity, harmony from complicity and uniqueness from harmony, with diverse primary colors and beautiful designs. Paper cuts in Shanxi and Shaanxi, with scissors or graver as their tools, specialise in production of window decoration, shed decoration, lantern decoration or figures in simple and elegant style. Most of paper cut works are in small or middle size and come in red, blue or other single colors. Paper cuts in Yuxian County, Hebei, are dyed, which makes paper cuts more colorful based on original skills and technologies and single color. As such cuts are mainly made through “incision technology” and “color dyeing”, it is said that “dyeing is dominant and technology is less important”. In Zhejiang, paper cuts are more elaborate and most of them are well engraved.
However, paper cuts in Shanxi are more famous and China Paper Cutting Museum is located in Shanxi.