Papercutting art from Taiwan’s Matsu Islands lives on

Matsu-born artist devotes his life to reinventing traditional craft

(<a href="" target="_blank">大浦Plus+</a> photo)

(大浦Plus+ photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Taiwanese artist from Taiwan’s outlying Matsu Islands is seeking to revive the art of papercutting, a traditional handicraft that is hanging by a thread.

Chen Chih-hsu (陳治旭), an artist who specializes in papercutting and wood crafts, has dedicated himself to promoting a form of paper designs that originated in Matsu and is feared to be disappearing. He has been holding classes across the country, teaching students how the art can be reinvigorated in a modern setting, wrote CNA.

According to Chen, papercutting used to provide a livelihood for women on the Matsu Islands who did not have the luxury of receiving an education to earn a living. The designs served as a base for delicate embroideries on clothing, but the practice has been on the decline since fashion on the islands underwent Westernization.

Chen, who wrote a book on the technique, believes it can be reinvented to feature patterns more in line with modern aesthetics and applied to daily life. The artworks can also be used as a medium to express one’s feelings and values, allowing people to reconnect with Matsu as they acquire papercutting skills.

This year, Chen returned to Matsu to promote the art in his hometown with the aim of passing down its cultural legacy.

Chen instructs students in papercutting. (大浦Plus+ photo)

(MYDA photo)