Wowing gizmo freaks with a pair of scissors | other | Hindustan Times
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Wowing gizmo freaks with a pair of scissors

He creates magic out of paper and along with his ilk, is trying to keep the ancient art of paper-cutting alive in a country, which is hurtling towards modernization.

other Updated: Nov 12, 2010 23:35 IST
Ajai Masand

He creates magic out of paper and along with his ilk, is trying to keep the ancient art of paper-cutting alive in a country, which is hurtling towards modernization.

The contrast is not lost on the motley crowd of foreign reporters, locals and volunteers who gather around his kiosk at the Main Press Centre, marvelling as Yu Zhongmin's assortment of scissors cut through sheets of red paper, conjuring up intricate designs out of nowhere.

Like a magician flanked by beautiful ladies, Zhongmin, who too has two assistants wearing flowing red gowns called 'tangzhuang', goes about his work oblivious to the clatter and camera flashes all around.

"I am keeping a traditional art, which has been around for thousands of years in the north-eastern region of China, Shanxi, alive. We have an association of paper-cutting die-hards and hold a festival where the best in the business converge to showcase their art," says Zhongmin.

In his mid-30s, the man reaches out for one of the dozen or so artistically crafted scissors lined on the table and brings to life a small piece of red paper, crafting out four frogs. "These are mementos for to the visiting dignitaries," he says in broken English.

His beautifully decorated book encloses many more 'magical moments'. Inside, the iconic Chinese basketball player, Yao Ming, who plays in the NBA, comes to life even if it's only on paper.

He has paper-cuttings of Bruce Lee, 24 NBA players, the five goats that are the mascot of the Guangzhou Asian Games, statues of leading Chinese and Communist heads and many more.

He was even there at the 2008 Olympic Games in his customary red jacket with designs made from gold thread, and says it was a once in a lifetime experience.