72 years of cutting Xinjiang stories into paper

Hao Xianyi touches a piece of paper-cut work.[Photo by Xiao Ying / for China Daily]

"Paper-cutting has a unique charm for me," said Hao Xianyi, an 80-year-old paper-cut artist and inheritor of the intangible cultural heritage from Changji, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Hao began learning paper-cutting at 8 years of age with his grandmother, a famous master of the art, and he has now engaged in the craft for over 70 years.

Hao's works were posted everywhere in his studio, with paper-cuts revealing the space shuttle, subway, high-speed railway and local people, among other elements.

"They may only take a few days to cut, but they need several months to design and conceptualize," Hao said.

Hao Xianyi demonstrates paper-cut skills to an enthusiast.[Photo by Xiao Ying / for China Daily]

In 2013, Hao was named as an inheritor of this intangible cultural heritage of Changji Hui autonomous prefecture.

So far, Hao has created more than 10,000 works, and many of his paper-cuts have won prizes in paper-cutting competitions at home and abroad, with more than 50 award certificates.

Over the past 10 years, Hao has held free paper-cut training courses and taught paper-cut skills in communities, schools and nursing homes.

Hao Xianyi trains paper-cut enthusiasts.[Photo by Xiao Ying / for China Daily]

He has trained about 300 to 400 paper-cut enthusiasts, the youngest being 4 and the oldest in their 80s, with some students having studied with him for seven years.

"I will passionately teach the art of paper-cutting to those who love it and carry forward the art of paper-cutting," Hao said.