Credit for the invention of papermaking is given to a Chinese eunuch by the name of Cai Lun who in AD 105 standardized the papermaking process for the first time. The first type of papercutting design, Jianshi, followed in the 6th century. Chinese women made the cuttings out of gold and silver foil to wear in their hair when going to the temple and the men used them in religious rituals.
Over the centuries the craft developed and the paper cuttings began showing up in windows (known as ‘Window Flower’ or ‘chuang hua’ ) and in doorways as decoration during festivals and times of celebration. The folk art still enjoys an enthusiastic following in China, having become very popular among the rural Chinese.
This week I stumbled upon some gorgeous examples of the art reinterpreted. Hong Kong born artist Bovey Lee combines all the traditional elements of her native home’s papercutting artform and adds a timely modern message. The result are beautiful and powerful pieces made entirely of ricepaper. Her work manages to tell a story and make a quiet statement while remaining true to its traditional Chinese origins.
Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this dual Masters prepared artists pieces has been displayed at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York, the National Glass Centre in Sunderland, UK, the Art Asia fairs in Miami, Florida and Basel, Switzerland , the Museum of Fine Arts in Beijing, China and the Fukuoka Museum of Art in Japan to name just a few.
I have chosen a few examples of this incredible artists work to show you below, but be sure to visit her website www.boveylee.com to see more of her stunning work.