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Taiwan Research Programme
London School of Economics and Political Science
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London, WC2A 2AE


Professor Stephan Feuchtwang

Dr Fang-Long Shih

Inheritance and Innovation in Taiwan's Paper-Cutting Art

Presented by Mr Tzu-Yao Cheng (Graduate Institute of Taiwan Literature, National Taiwan University) 

Presented at the conference 'Cultural Heritage: tradition in dialogue with modernity'

Venue: Room AGWR (the Graham Wallas Room), Old Building,  London School of Economics (LSE)

Date: Wednesday 10 July 2013, 1.30pm-2.30pm

Discussant: James Johnston (Department of Anthropology, LSE)


The preservation of cultural heritage has become a worldwide tread. "Paper-cutting" (jian-zhi) is an important intangible cultural heritage for Taiwan, as one of the island’s traditional crafts. It includes styles such as paper-cut silhouettes (jian-ying) and engraved characters (ke-tzu) which are highly related to religious belief and traditional festivals in Taiwanese civil society. Huan-chang Lee, a Taiwanese paper-cutting master, devoted 80 years to paper-cutting, and his artwork should be preserved and his craft recorded in order that it can be passed on to the next generation. 

After analysing traditional paper-cutting, the paper considers three examples by which we can understand the development of the craft of paper-cutting to include artworks which have contemporary traits, but which at the same time remain based on the traditional craft:  Geng-Zhen Wu, Tim Budden, and the Huwei Paper-Cutting art centre.

By studying Huan-chang Lee's paper-cutting techniques as well as artworks from contemporary artists, we can make comparisons between the old and new generations, and discuss inheritance and innovation in Taiwan's paper cutting art.

About the Speaker

Tzu-Yao Cheng is a postgraduate student in the Department of Taiwan Literature, National Taiwan University.