Zeya Paper Reborn: Designing Modern Chinese Lamps Using Traditional Bamboo Paper in Wenzhou, China

  •  Maurizio Vrenna    
  •  Mengxi Cui    


Papermaking is one of the four great inventions of ancient China and embodies centuries of wisdom. In the Zeya highlands, northwest of Wenzhou, handmade paper production became the pillar of the local economy during the last century. However, due to industrialization, the demand for traditional handmade paper has significantly decreased, and many papermaking workshops have had to shut down. Today, villagers mainly use Zeya bamboo paper for less noble purposes, such as draft paper. New applications for such culturally-rich material have to be envisioned. This manuscript discusses the Zeya Paper Reborn project, which is committed to showing the appeal of Zeya traditional paper through the design of modern Chinese lamps. The bamboo paper is combined with various materials, taking advantage of past and present aesthetics in an attempt to revitalize the local industry. A series of five lamps and an exhibition resulted from one year of study and practice. These design products are meaningful because they respect the regional tradition while adding a touch of modernity. The authors also discuss the project’s meaning, results, challenges, and limits. This essay will be of interest to design researchers and practitioners looking for novel approaches to preserve and promulgate Chinese intangible cultural heritage.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1916-9655
  • ISSN(Online): 1916-9663
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: semiannual

Journal Metrics

Google-based Impact Factor (2017): 5.42
h-index (January 2018): 11
i10-index (January 2018): 21
h5-index (January 2018): 6
h5-median (January 2018): 9

Learn More