Chinese Paper Cutting, or Jianzhi was the first type of papercutting design, since paper was first invented. Bovey Lee is keeping this highly specialized art form alive. This art form was used a lot by the Chinese nobility of earlier times who could afford such luxuries as skilled papercutters to entertain.
The oldest surviving papercut is a symmetrical circle design dating back to the 6 th Century. Since that time, the art form became hugely popular in China – and one legendary young man could actually cut elaborate designs in his sleeve! Women often used to paste gold and silver foil cuttings onto their hair, and men used papercutting in sacred rituals ‘ the whole idea of this craft was deeply ingrained into Chinese culture of old. From the 14th Century, papercutting’s popularity spread worldwide. In China it was traditionally a female activity, with every girl expected to master it and new brides judged on their papercutting skills. Bad news for those lacking finesse with sharp objects! Professional papercutters were, however, usually male and often gained notoriety for their craftsmanship.
Born in Hong Kong and based in Pittsburgh, US, Bovey Lee spoke with Creative Mapping about her exquisite and delicate work: