Daur paper cuts

Themed paper cut work: Hockey and Lullaby

Updated: Dec 9, 2019 Print
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In 2005, her series of works Daur Customs won the silver prize in the China paper cutting competition, illustrating four traditional living scenes containing Daur people with paper cuts: two men play hockey, a mother sings a lullaby to her baby, fish-covering, and a woman fills a pipe for her mother-in-law.

The joy of hockey [Photo provided by Su Mei]

With a history of more than 1,000 years, hockey ranks top among Daur folk sports. Some of its characters are worth noticing to distinguish it from the modern style: the hockey sticks are made by bending Mongolian oaks, while apricot tree root or felt make the balls.

Daur people call their hockey goals “temporary camps” or “holes”, implying the the game's primitive origin. Sometimes they play it during the night with lit-up hockey balls rather than during the busy daytime, or else the games are generally held during festivals or spare time, played by the village or clans as units.

Lullaby [Photo provided by Su Mei]

In the traditional Daur style, there is generally a beam under the ceiling to hang up a wood cradle. The cradle is nearly one meter long with an upturn U-shaped head, a main body and a long round side of about 6 centimeters. The baby lying in it is slightly secured by cloth strips or strapped to the cradle as this is believed to be a good way of body shaping. At the bottom of the cradle a long hemp rope is nailed, thus the mother can grab it to rock the cradle when she’s doing housework.

Tranquil times [Photo provided by Su Mei]

There are strict rules about the manufacturing process of the cradles. First of all, the material must come from a lush forest so that babies can sleep well and have many siblings. Besides, the craftsmen should be kindhearted, upright, skillful and are better having a large family to ensure the cradles can not only be made well but also bring about good fortune.

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