Revolutionary Chinese Paper Cuts from the Newark Museum

Han Huirong

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Introducing 230 examples of the Newark Museum's collection of nearly 3,000 Chinese paper cuts, this bilingual Chinese-English publication traces the earliest moments of the tradition of Chinese paper cuts to its use throughout the twentieth century. It features superior examples of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) traditional paper-cuts used as complex embroidery patterns, beautiful good-luck ornaments for windows and walls as well as intricate decorations for seasonal parade floats but also rare survivors of the Republic Period (1911-42) as well as a vast, almost encyclopedic, collection of paper-cuts affiliated with the rise of communism in China (1942-1980). Maud Russell (1893-1989), a social worker with the Young Women's Christian Association in China from 1917 to 1943, became a fervent believer in communism translating tracts from Chinese into English and distributing them in the United States until her death, gifted the majority of this paper cut collection to the Newark Museum.

The breadth and depth of the meaning and uses of Chinese paper cuts will astonish readers, making a distinct contribution to scholastic discourse on this little known (especially to the West) art form while the variety of the material will delight a general readership. The author, Professor Han Huirong of Beijing Normal University in Beijing, China is a leading expert on "the New Paper Cut". Professor Han's writing evokes a distinct understanding of imagery that presents multiple meanings simultaneously, invoking a profound intended emotional interaction between the viewer and the material through not only sight, but also sounds, smells, tastes, patriotism and nostalgia.

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