Recently, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People’s Republic of China have jointly issued the directory of the first batch of national traditional handicrafts to be revitalized. 13 traditional handicrafts in Hubei were included and pattern carving and paper cutting handicraft of Xiaogan was on the list.
Traditional handicraft refers to personalized production through manual labor, with material selection based on skills and historical inheritance and national or regional characteristics and closely related to daily life. It is an important part of Chinese excellent traditional culture and has features which cannot be substituted by industrial production.
Xiaogan pattern carving and paper cutting handicraft mainly includes cutting and carving, with strong appreciation and ornament features. Works are of rich contents and often themed with longevity, propitiousness, happiness and jubilance. They are prone to express people’s pursuit and longing for good life with partial tone, implied meaning, symbolizing, under-meaning and other ways and provide vivid materials for research on Chu culture.
As early as in 1952, original Xiaogan County established Association of Pattern Carving and Paper Cutting Artists and Pattern Carving and Paper Cutting Research Institute to actively carry out preservation and promotion of pattern carving and paper cutting. Up to now, they have preserved and created over 2000 works with different styles. Many works are selected to be exhibited and sold in over ten countries and regions in Europe and Asia and have won many international awards. In 2008, Xiaogan Pattern Carving and Paper Cutting were included into the directory of extended items of the first batch of national intangible cultural heritages. In 2009, they were included into the directory of global intangible cultural heritages.