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Exquisite paper-cutting art decorates the walls of Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU) International Practice Innovation Base. But these paper-cuttings are from the university's foreign students, who have used laser technology to renew the traditional Chinese paper-cutting process and express their love for Chinese traditional culture.
As most foreign students remained on campus during winter vacation, a time when Chinese students returned home for the holidays, the NPU International Practice Innovation Base set up an intangible cultural heritage project focused on paper-cutting to enrich their lives. The project helps foreign students understand Chinese culture and become familiar with Chinese folk art.
Unlike paper-cutting folk artists, these foreign students learn the process of cutting paper without scissors, using modern instruments to design and cut.
"This is a window for them to understand Chinese culture, and also a good opportunity for them to improve their experience in laser cutting operations," said Wang Lingli, an instructor for the project. "The students are learning very quickly."
One of those students is Vinay Yadav, a 22-year-old from New Delhi, India in the international class of aerospace engineering, who has come to the center to try his hand at paper-cutting.
To help foreign students clearly understand the history and artistic features of Chinese paper-cutting, Wang translated the relevant information prepared in advance into English.
Sitting at the computer, Vinay and his classmates used the paper-cutting templates provided by the instructor to creatively express their understanding of Chinese festival culture and folk art.
The students designed different paper-cuttings, and then used a nonmetal laser cutting machine for red paper, which can produce paper-cuttings in just a few minutes.
Chinese zodiac animals, giant pandas, fish, peonies, lotus flowers and other motifs marked with English are integrated with the Chinese characters for "spring" and "happiness" to create unique paper-cut works.
Wen Nam, another Indian student participating in the project, learned that every piece of paper-cut art has different historical origins, reflecting China's vast traditional culture.
Among students from all over the world, he has designed and produced the largest number of paper-cuts that also have the best quality.
After receiving recognition and approval from the instructor, Vinay was even more confident.
He said, "Chinese paper-cutting is particularly beautiful. I now like it."
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