One man's trash...

I have an uncle who, in the days before we all separated our rubbish, donated gently used items to charity shops and brought everything else to the recycling centre, was a bin-man. He used to find the most weird and wonderful things left out for curbside collection.

He sometimes brought us found items, like books, records and toys from another era. Once or twice there were paintings and just once he brought my parents a huge decorative plate depicting a chinese man, a tree and some pigs! It still hangs in their kitchen.

I recently stumbled upon this incredibly beautiful blog and was instantly reminded of another treasure that came, via my uncle, from somebody else's trash.

From an ancient dusty envelope, wherein I stashed it after I had claimed it as my own and carried it with me from house to home, I extract a rare gem.

A book. Delicate and unbound.
With a simple inscription.

To dear Miss Cherry, From Lam Hang Ching
Lam Kook Ching
And the most complex beauty contained within.

The most amazing thing about this little book is that these are not prints. These are actual Chinese papercuts, cut by skilled hands from impossibly fine paper, collected from exotic sounding places Shantung, Kiangsu, Nanking and Kwangtung and presented in this simple paper book.

I have no idea of its history, who the dear Miss Cherry was, or why it ended up being thrown away. It was published by Guozi Shudian of Peking - Importers and Exporters of Books and Periodicals, which after a brief 'google' appear to be publishers of communist propoganda during the 1960's. Is this propaganda?

I am considering contacting the Chester Beatty Library to see if they can give me any further details and to advise me on how to preserve it. I often toy with the idea of framing each piece... but I'm afraid the light might dim the vibrant colours. For now I'm happy to leaf gently through it from time to time and just marvel.


A penny for your thoughts?