Wang Derong preserves paper-cutting art in Binzhou

By Zhu Shengnan| (| Updated : 2022-07-15

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The 84-year-old Wang Derong is a representative practitioner of Binzhou paper-cutting, a national intangible cultural heritage item.

Binzhou paper-cutting has long been popular in villages and towns along the Yellow River and Tuhai River due to its exaggerated form, unique composition, intense color, wide range of subjects, and varied techniques. Scissors and paper are the main tools, while a knife will sometimes be used as well.

With the help of her mother and older sister, Wang started to create flower paper-cuttings when she was a teenager and sold them on the market. Buyers could make embroidered shoes using the patterns she sold.

The paper-cutting artworks made by Wang's mother and sister usually featured traditional flower patterns, such as chrysanthemum and plum blossom, while Wang's artworks included humans and animals. Wang can create a butterfly paper-cutting work in less than 10 minutes.


A paper-cutting artwork created by Wang Derong [Photo/Dazhong Daily]

Wang's paper-cutting works are famous in her hometown. Whenever someone gets married, Wang will be invited to create paper-cutting artworks featuring the Fu character, bats (bat in Chinese is "bianfu", representing good wishes and blessings) and flowers, which will be pasted on the windows, walls, doors and bedheads.

Wang's husband is a practitioner of Lyu opera, which inspired Wang to combine paper-cutting with the characters in Lyu opera and Chinese paintings, giving her a distinct style and making her artworks popular in Shandong province and China as a whole.

Twelve of Wang's paper-cutting artworks, such as The Harvest, as well as Longevity and Health, were designated by UNESCO as representative works of Binzhou paper-cutting and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Some works have been collected by and displayed at the China Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection Center and Hong Kong's galleries, while others have been sold to Japan and South Korea.


Wang Derong teaches a student to create paper-cutting works. [Photo/Dazhong Daily]

To better preserve paper-cutting, Wang teaches students of all ages. "As long as you truly want to learn this craft, I will teach you as much as I can," Wang said.