Making the Most Out of Paper: Chinese Brush Painting and Paper-cutting Exhibit
by Ms. Shane Capil
Chinese brush painting and Chinese paper cutting are two ancient art forms that developed in China hundreds of years ago.
Typical motifs in Chinese brush painting are flowers, birds, animals, and landscapes. Among these motifs, there is what they call as the Three Friends of Winter consisting of pine, bamboo, and plum. These Three Friends of Winter do not wither as the cold days deepen into the winter season unlike many other plants. Together they symbolize steadfastness, perseverance, and resilience – characteristics that represent the Confucian scholar-gentlemen’s ideal.
Another popular plant subject in Chinese painting is the lotus. To the Chinese, the lotus is the most important of all the cultivated flowers because of its beauty and usefulness. It also symbolizes purity and perfection as it grows out of the mud into blossoming beauty and fruitfulness. Because of these outstanding characteristics, the lotus flower holds a supreme position in Buddhism and Taoism, two main religions in China.
Paper cutting is a distinct visual art among Chinese handicrafts. It was first used by women to ornament their hair with gold and silver foil cuttings and by men for sacred rituals. Later on, they were used to decorate gates and windows during festivals and has now become a very popular Chinese decoration.
Bamboo and lotus are also the main motifs of Chinese brush painting by G8 XCE (Xavier China Experience) and G8 XPE (Xavier Philippines Experience) participants, and the High School Chinese Culture Clubs’ members. Students tapped on their artistic prowess and let the brush dance through paper with their imagination.
The G8 XCE students also showed their liveliness and creativity through paper-cutting by working with figures and symmetry using colored papers.
The Chinese Artwork Exhibit has been a showcase event in the HS LRC for two years now. This event aims to highlight students’ resourcefulness and individuality and to let the whole Xavier School community experience a bit of China through art.