Johnson Center hosts paper cutting exhibit

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Art of Chinese Paper Cutting exhibition is open at the Johnson Center for the Arts on East Walnut Street in Troy and will run through April 30.

The exhibition is featured in the Jane Jernigan Brantley Gallery on the Center’s lower level.

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Morgan Drinkard, Johnson Center interim director, said the Chinese Paper Cutting Exhibition is being held in conjunction with the opening of the Confucius Institute at Troy University.

Since paper was invented in China, Chinese Paper Cutting or Jianzhi is the first type of paper cutting design. The oldest surviving paper cut is a symmetrical circle from the 6th century that was found in Xinjiang, China.

The paper cuttings that are on exhibit at the Johnson Center are outstanding examples of that ancient art, Drinkard said. “The exhibit includes six paper cut dragons and paper cuttings of the 12 animals that represent the rotating 12-year cycle that is the basis of the Chinese Zodiac.”

In Chinese Astrology, each sign is represented by an animal and each corresponds to a lunar year. Each sign also has five elements – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. In certain years, particular elements are more prominent.

In the year 2012, Water is very prominent so 2012 is the Year of the Water Dragon. The special combination of the sign and element only occurs once every 60 years.

A popular legend association with the Chinese Astrology is that Buddha invited all the animals to visit him. As a way of saying thanks to those who came, he dedicated a year to each of the animals according to the order of their visits – the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

“That is just some of the interesting history and information that complements the Paper Cutting Exhibition,” Drinkard said. “The Johnson Center will celebrate China Week the last week March, with a reception from 3:30 until 5 p.m. on March 29. During that time, we will have a paper cutting demonstration by international students at Troy University.”

The reception will be a community-wide event and everyone is invited, Drinkard said.