The Belt and Road News Network>>BRI News>>Latest News

Folk artist creates Spring Festival paper carving works in E China's Shandong

   People's Daily Online   09:01, January 09, 2023
Folk artist creates Spring Festival paper carving works in E China's Shandong
Lai Fengqiang works on a "Guomenjian" piece, or paper carving door decoration. (Photo/Chen Guangjin)

Lai Fengqiang, a paper carving folk artist from Juxian county, Rizhao city, east China's Shandong Province, has been busy making "Guomenjian," or paper carving works for decorating doors, as the Spring Festival approaches.

"Guomenjian" is a traditional art form in China and a special decoration used during the Spring Festival. In 2008, it was put on the list of National Intangible Cultural Heritage and in 2009, and was approved by UNESCO as a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity."

The handmade paper carving door decorations are between 16 and 29 centimeters long and between 8.5 and 19 centimeters wide, each coming in seven colors to symbolize a colorful life, explained Xing Baodong, head of the Folk Artists Association in Rizhao.

Lai, who is 61 years old, is an inheritor of the "Guomenjian" making technique, and started to learn the skill from his older brother when he was 16. The Lai family has been passing down the craft for more than 300 years, and Lai Fengqiang is the seventh-generation inheritor of the craft.

In addition to learning the basic carving skills, Lai also tries to find innovative ways to carry forward the craft. He has not only created paper carving door decorations featuring elements of the Spring Festival, but also given his works new themes, such as core socialist values.

The creative paper carving works made by Lai sell for higher prices. Because of this, many villagers have joined him in his efforts, allowing them to inherit the craft while increasing their incomes.

Every year, Lai teaches paper carving skills at schools, military camps, and nursery homes, as well as in scenic areas and residential communities. Lai said his biggest wish is to carry forward and revitalize the folk art form.