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Get Cutouts, Get Cultured

Columbia University Libraries teamed up with Lincoln Center to bring you “Cinema China, Culture China,” an alliterative festival celebrating “the relationship between the United States and China through cinematic and cultural perspectives.” C^4 runs this week, October 17-21, and features film screenings, lectures, and performances by Chinese artists on campus and a film series at Lincoln Center.

Back here in the bubble, you’ll find a Chinese Paper Cutting exhibition in Butler on either side of the Circulation desk (3rd floor), every day from 10am-11am and 3pm-5pm. On the right side of the desk, you can meet Xi Xiaoqin, a master craftswoman who has studied paper cutting since 1973. She came to the discipline after abandoning an initial interest in painting, though her compositions have a painterly quality, you can see for yourself in her catalogue.

She was also featured at last year’s Shanghai Expo, a huge international cultural festival, nearly on the scale of the Bejing Olympics, and brought along a few images of the logo to show for it. Xi still lives and teaches in Shanghai, and fortunately for us, came to New York as part of the cultural delegation for this week’s festival. Columbians can create their own designs, or choose from some of hers, and watch her produce intricate paper cut-outs in a matter of minutes without using any preliminary designs or drawings. (And we thought making a paper crane was a big deal). Shi Qinling, her student, also has a table by the other stairwell to demonstrate and dole out her own beautiful cut outs.

This whole week was dreamed up to celebrate two major gifts the Libraries recently received: a donation of Chinese DVDs (from a cosmetics company) that has “transformed the Chinese film collection at Columbia into the largest in the world of research libraries” and a large calligraphic work by world-renowned artist Xu Bing. With big shiny festival guides, sophisticated co-sponsors and a gala reception, its surprising the whole affair hasn’t garnered more fanfare, save for a few small signs in Butler. You can see the week’s full event listings here.

Thanks to Belinda Shao, CC’ 12 for translating!

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3 Comments

  • wow says:

    @wow since 197? she’s aged well.

    1. Claire says:

      @Claire Well-spotted, pal!

  • Shan Guy says:

    @Shan Guy I want to see.

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