diane palley

traditional and not so traditional jewish art and papercutting

Jews developed this technique into a complex folk art that was thoroughly integrated into their religious lives. Papercuts played a part in many religious holidays and events, and papercut amulets were created to protect pregnant women, infants, homes, and synagogues. Marriage contracts, religious calendars and sacred scrolls were cut from paper or parchment, as were plaques commemorating special occasions or honoring important members of the community.

Despite the encroachment of the modern world on traditional Jewish culture and the near destruction of the Eastern European Jewish community during the Holocaust, papercutting has endured. Only a handful of papercuts and papercutters survived the war, and they have passed on their expertise to new generations of artists who helped to revive the fragile art.Papercuts still serve many of the cultural and religious needs of the Jewish community today. In addition to the traditional uses of this folkart, papercuts are now created to celebrate life cycle events, including birthdays, bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings, anniversaries and personal achievements.

Papercutting is a traditional Jewish folk art that originated in Eastern Europe and the Middle East several hundred years ago. Papercuts were created in neighboring communities in Germany, Switzerland and Poland as well as in many places throughout the world, including China, Japan, Indonesia and Mexico. Perhaps the popularity of this versatile folkart is based on the dramatic designs that can be created using only inexpensive paper and a knife.

about papercutting