Hong Kong Heritage
To the indigenous villagers in Hong Kong, paper-craft making is like a cycle. Every year, it appears in festivals, celebration activities, sacrificed offerings and religious ceremonies of all scales throughout the year. It constitutes a crucial part of the inhabitants’ lives, from one’s birth, growth to marriage.
The Spring Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year. In the walled villages in the New Territories, there is the traditional custom of “lantern lighting”. In the southern Chinese dialects, such as Hokkien, Hakka and the Weitou dialect, the characters “燈” (lanterns) and “丁” (male offspring) share similar pronunciation, so that “lantern lighting” symbolises having new male offspring, which represents the inhabitants’ strong hope for life.
“Fa pao” (flower canon) is a unique traditional tribute which is a paper-craft altar used in celebration activities in Hong Kong in order to worship statues of different gods. In the old days, after worshipping the deities, villagers would have a game of scrambling for fa pao. But now it is replaced by a lot drawing ceremony. If a desirable lot is drawn, it means the person is going to have the blessings of the deities and everything will run smoothly in the upcoming year.
Qilin has been venerated by Hakka people. In celebrations of local deities’ birthdays and festive events or occasions like weddings, moving in and “Ta Chiu” celebration, the qilin dance can always be seen, so as to bring about good luck and fortune. Since paper-craft items can show the imaginary images by 3D models, it is possible for the qilin to stay “alive” nowadays.
Paper-craft products are not merely ordinary handicrafts. By making use of paper and bamboo, they form the radian of life. In order to make a paper-craft item, the processes of “binding, paper-mounting, painting, assembling” must be gone through, which resemble a person’s life: to make the skeleton of the paper-craft item by binding bamboo stripes with paper wraps. Next, a plain and simple model is made by mounting tissue paper onto the skeleton. After that, various colours will be painted onto the model. And finally, decorations are assembled to finish making the paper-craft item.
From completing a paper-craft item to burning it down to ash, the whole process shows exactly the abstruse philosophy of life.
Producer: Yeung King-chuen