Scholar follows paper-cutting artist for 17 years
2017-07-27 16:36:00

Ma Kaizhen, a part-time professor at Jiangsu Normal University, recently gave a lecture on the life and art of Wang Guiying, an inheritor of the national intangible heritage Xuzhou paper-cutting. The lecture was based on Ma's 17-year-long field surveys of Wang Guiying.

Ma Kaizhen got acquainted to Wang Guiying's paper-cutting in 2001 and was soon attracted. Her works almost all stemmed from everyday life, and everything, from pig feeding to silkworm breeding to farming, can be cut in the paper.

Wang Guiying's father died when she was eight months old and her mother died when she was seven years old. The wood-carved begonia left by her father and hat flowers left by her mother gave her the earliest artistic enlightenment, and a way for her to remember her parents. In a sharp contrast to her childhood miseries, Wang's paper-cutting works encompass a wide range of topics and convey her positive attitude and upbeat spirit on life.

After getting to know Wang Guiying, Ma Kaizhen began to record her life and art with field surveys and a documentary, and helped her hold a paper-cutting exhibition. In this process, Ma tried to study the soil that nurtures Wang's primitive creativity through cultural anthropology.

Ma Kaizhen decided to publish a book on his field surveys throughout 17 years and his thoughts in recent years. The book is likely to be completed within the year.

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