Chinese Class Experience 12072018 386
Students practise Chinese Calligraphy which is widely practiced in China and is generally held in high esteem in the Chinese cultural sphere, during a Chinese language class taught by Ms. Wanjiku Mbugua (Lecturer of Chinese). PHOTO:DAN MUCHAI

By Wanjiku Mbugua

Students of Chinese were exposed to a Chinese Folk art classroom experience where they were directly immersed into the actual Chinese paper cutting (Jiǎnzhǐ 剪纸), Chinese calligraphy (Shūfǎ书法) and Chinese opera face painting (Liǎnpǔ脸谱) - all activities that are paramount to learning to appreciate Chinese culture.

Chinese paper-cutting, or jianzhi (剪紙), is a folk art that originated in China around the sixth century AD. The art form is most strongly associated with China because paper was invented in the country – by Cai Lun in the Eastern Han Dynasty in China. As paper became more affordable, paper-cutting became one of the most important types of Chinese folk art. Later, this art form spread to other parts of the world, with different regions adopting their own cultural styles.

Paper cutting in China is mainly used to decorate doors and windows. Paper cuts were glued to the exterior of windows, so the light from the inside would shine through the negative space of the cutout. Usually, the artworks are made of red paper, as red is associated with festivities and happiness in Chinese culture, but other colors were also used. Paper cuts always symbolize luck and happiness.