I am definitely excited to write our first blog on the first day of Chinese New Year 2015- the year of goat!
So, Happy New Year!
You may want to ask what the year of goat is for? Well, I could spend days on writing that topic. But long
story for short, goat, (some people may also say ram or sheep since they all can be represented by the Chinese character “羊”(yang), is ranked #8 in the Chinese zodiac animal signs. People born in the year of goat are usually considered to be tender, polite, clever and kind. They have special sensitivity to art and beauty (hit the point) and a special fondness for quiet life and like to take good care of others. So, does this mean enough to you? If not, check out this website for more details (http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/social_customs/zodiac/sheep.htm).
Alright, back to the topic, folk arts for the Chinese New Year. The one I specifically want to introduce today is the Chinese paper cutting art, also called Jianzhi （剪纸）in Chinese. It is one of the oldest and most popular folk arts in China. The style of Jianzhi varies quite a bit. It could be very simple or extremely complicated. While there are already a myriad of colors used, the color of red is adopted mostly because Chinese people associate red with fortune, happiness，good luck and prosperity. Of course, those are what people wish for the new year. Below is a set of paper cutting arts in different styles for the year of goat. It should give you a good idea about what they look like and how detailed and beautiful they could be. Please remember they are solely cut from only one piece of paper.
To me, I also consider paper cutting arts a type of graphic design and craft. To ensure a piece of paper cutting art done correctly, it requires some design thinking and planning before the actual cutting process. Most of them are done symmetrically and some of the areas could be highly fine cut and slim. Combined with the texture of the paper, paper cutting art is really a beauty of symmetry and delicateness. Due to the purpose of the art, wishing for the goods, paper cutting art works are usually posted on either the window or the door in Chinese tradition. That is why people also name it Chuang-Hua, meaning window art. By posting paper the art works on the window, people think their wishes have been sent out and good things will come for the new year. This can also be used in other ceremonial occasions such as wedding.
So, this is a brief introduction for this beautiful and meaningful folk art of China, but it is only one of the kinds. I will introduce more when the time comes. Nevertheless, I just think this one is good for today. A little secret to tell, our class this week will have students do a simple paper cutting art work so that the kids can have fun with it. This can not only be a good experience with the art, but it is also a good craft practice.
Alright, hope you enjoy this. More posts will be coming. Again, Happy New Year and Have a great year of goat!