Chinese Paper Sculpture is a unique art form that has existed for thousands of years featuring both national and regional themes. Its origin is closely connected with the invention of paper during the Han dynasty (206 BC - 221 AD.) As paper was highly precious in the early days, the art of paper cutting first became popular in the royal palaces and houses of nobility as a favorite pastime among court ladies. Later, during the 7th through 13th centuries, paper cutting was immensely popular during folk festivals and celebrations. By the 14th century, the art had spread to the Middle East and Europe; and by the 15th century onward, cut paper art works had become an integral part of the everyday life of the people. It is said that entrances decorated with paper cut outs bring good luck.
In the rural countryside in mainland China, paper cutting is a traditionally female activity. In the past, every girl was expected to master it and brides were often judged by their skill. Professional papercutting artists are, on the other hand, usually male and have guaranteed incomes and work together in workshops.
The art of paper cutting has been on the verge of dying out during the past century as old China experienced successive years of the disaster of war brought on by domestic turmoil and foreign invasion. Amidst a myriad of changes in their lives, most people had no leisure time to engage in the study of the art of paper cutting. Today Chinese artisans are trying to revive the ancient art form and share it with the rest of the world.