Chen De – Artisan of Folk Paper-cut in Nanjian County, Dali 

Chen De- Artisan of Folk Paper-cut in Nanjian County of Dali(大理州南涧县宝华乡民间剪纸艺人-陈德). He is a Yi ethni minority and he was born in 1965, who lived in Baohua Township, Nanjian County of Dali Prefecture. He is good at paper-cutting and wood-cutting. He is a rare local folk paper-cut artist.

Personal Experiences

Both his parents are authentic peasants, without any artistic cells. Chen De’s interest in paper-cut art stems from an occasional opportunity. In the summer of 1980, Chen De went to Nanjian County to the market. The hot climate made him nowhere to escape. He ran to the courtyard of Nanjian County Cultural Museum to enjoy the cool. Accidentally found in the exhibition hall of the Cultural Museum are art works, calligraphy works, and three very delicate paper-cut works, white background foil the smooth lines of the black house, as well as a few lifelike sparrows, Chen De was immediately fascinated. Since then, the “root” of paper-cut art has been deeply rooted in Chen De’s heart.

Telling Hometown’s Story by Paper-cut: 

Chen said he had been thinking about cutting a long roll to reflect the local conditions of Nanjian. For this long volume, Chen calculated that it would take about 5 to 10 years to conceive and grind over and over again, hoping to show the development and changes of his hometown in all aspects, and to tell Nanjian with paper-cut.


His paper-cut works have been selected for many times in the provinces, prefectures and counties to hold exhibitions of art works. and have won many awards. For example, his work “increasing production and high yield and winning a bumper harvest”(增产高产得丰收) won the third prize of “the first mass art exhibition in Yunnan Province” and work “Tiaoyue”won(跳月)the third prize of “Yunnan Peasant painting Exhibition”. His deeds have been reported many times in newspapers, television stations and other news media. In his hometown, every funeral ceremony and wedding events  ask him to cut flowers as decoration

  • In May 2002, Professor Chen De was named Yunnan National Folk Art Artist;
  • In 2005, she was awarded the title of provincial inheritor of intangible cultural heritage;
  • In March 2009, she was specially appointed as a township national folk culture inheritance teacher by the County Bureau of Culture, Sports and Education;
  • In October 2010, she was appointed by the Design Institute of Yunnan Academy of Art and the Vocational Technology of Yunnan University for Nationalities. The Academy employs “specialists”. Since then, Mr. Chen De has taken the responsibility of non-hereditary heirs. 

Chinese Version:                                                                              Translated by Lynette Fu/ 付云锐