Cut paper, also known as papel picado, is a beautiful form of ornamentation in Mexican culture. The art of cut paper began with the introduction of Chinese paper to Mexico, and it has since become an integral part of Mexican festivities, whether religious or civil. This art form is characterized by its use of vibrant colors and intricate designs, making it a true feast for the eyes.
The Skill of the Artisans
The artisans who create these beautiful pieces are skilled in using a hammer and chisel to shape their designs. The delicate nature of the paper requires precision and care to create the desired image or message. The result is a stunning work of art that is often used to decorate spaces and add an extra element of festivity to any occasion.
Papel Picado in Mexican Festivities
Cut paper is an important part of Mexican festivities, such as the Days of the Dead in November. The tradition of creating elaborate altars to honor the departed includes the use of cut paper figures and skulls, which are an essential element of the offering. The skulls are often made from sweet alfeñique, which is also consumed in large quantities during this time.
Cut paper is also used in other celebrations, such as weddings, birthdays, and religious festivals. It is common to see papel picado strung across streets and plazas, creating a vibrant and festive atmosphere.
The History of Cut Paper
Cut paper has a rich history in Mexico, dating back to the 18th century. It is said to have originated in the city of San Salvador Huixcolotla, in the state of Puebla. The technique was brought to Mexico by the Chinese, who were experts in the art of papermaking. The use of vibrant colors and intricate designs is believed to have been influenced by the Aztecs, who also used paper for decorative purposes.
Today, cut paper remains an important part of Mexican culture, and it is celebrated around the world. In 2013, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized the tradition of making papel picado as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Cut paper, or papel picado, is a beautiful art form that has become an important part of Mexican culture. The intricate designs and vibrant colors make it a true feast for the eyes, and it is an essential element of many Mexican festivities. Whether used to decorate altars or strung across streets and plazas, the cut paper adds an extra element of festivity and joy to any occasion.