Showing off in Shanxi

Updated: 2013-07-08 03:30

(China Daily)

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Showing off in Shanxi

Liu Guilan, from Lyuliang city, shows her paper-cutting works, which are simple, indigenous and full of country naivete. Wei Xiaohao / China Caily 

Liu Guilan, 74, had already visited Taiyuan twice before, but this time she came with paper-cutting skills she had been honing for nearly half a century.

From Chugou village in Liulin county, Lyuliang city, Liu and her husband were sent to the fair by the city government.

Her works, made of red paper and with traditional country themes, are priced from 50 to 300 yuan ($8-49), depending on the size. Unlike the new-style paper-cutting works at the fair, her works are simple, indigenous and full of country naivete.

"My works are mainly for the weddings in local families," Liu says in her strongly accented Mandarin. "They like my paper-cuts on newly weds worshiping Heaven and Earth. A small piece can sell for 200 to 300 yuan. A big piece is priced at 1,200 yuan."

It takes her more than a month to finish a big piece, she says, so she can only earn between 3,000 to 5,000 yuan a year.

"I hope I could sell more at the fair," she says.

By letting more people know about her works, she says she also hopes to become one of the country's intangible cultural heritage inheritors, which means an allowance of 10,000 yuan from the central government every year.

Near Liu's table, Hu Zhiqi and his son Hu Xiao were at the fair to promote their family tradition — woodblock New Year prints. Their family business has survived for four generations, says the 28-year-old son.

Showing off in Shanxi

Shanxi Museum's staff members work on the "toy bricks", miniature wooden blocks. Wei Xiaohao / China Caily 

With a collection of about 40 sets of woodblocks, some of which are more than 100 years old, the family is the only traditional New Year woodblock print maker in Liulin county.

In 2008, Hu Xiao, an artist with formal art education, took the family's woodblock prints to Jaipur, India.

"In Liulin, few people would buy our New Year prints, which are priced at 50 to 100 yuan each and more expensive than common printed New Year paintings," Hu says.

But he manages to sell about 1,000 prints a year to collectors mainly through his shop at, China's largest online shopping portal.

"I hope to meet potential traders and more collectors at the fair."