As China welcomes the upcoming Spring Festival, Zhang Zhenmei, a prominent Yangzhou paper-cutting artist, is spreading Chinese New Year blessings worldwide through her innovative paper-cutting art.
Her recent paper-cutting work, which features the mascot of the China International Import Expo, the world's first international import expo, is her unique way of wishing everyone around the world a happy new year.
Zhang has dedicated herself to promoting and documenting Yangzhou paper-cutting, as well as passing on the techniques and engaging in international cultural exchanges. She has showcased the art through performances during official visits to cities abroad, including Milan and Venice.
Listed among the first group of national-level intangible cultural heritage items in China in 2006, the art of Yangzhou paper-cutting can be dated back to the Tang and Song dynasties (618-1279). Yangzhou has been recognized as one of the first regions in China where paper-cutting gained in popularity.
Yangzhou paper-cutting encompasses a wide range of themes, including people, flowers, birds, animals, insects, landscapes, and landmarks, with a particular emphasis on seasonal flowers. Its distinctive features include using sketches as drafts, concise compositions, smooth lines, and an overall sense of elegance, giving a feeling of fullness and integrity in its composition.