Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Arts, Design and Contemporary Education (ICADCE 2022)

Research on Concept Book Design From the Perspective of Intangible Cultural Heritage: Taking Ganzhou Hakka Paper Sculpture Book Design as an Example
Full-Text Views:
Citations (Scopus):
Citations (Crossref):
Cite This Article


In 2020, Ganzhou Hakka paper sculpture was officially identified by the Ganzhou Municipal People's Government as the fifth batch of representative projects of municipal intangible cultural heritage in Ganzhou. Hakka paper sculpture can also be called “carved paper”, which is inherited from the development of gold and silver leveling skills in the Han Dynasty. After the generation, in the northern region of China, the folks have always been popular in cutting “colorful paper”. Until the Tang Dynasty, the gold and silver leveling skills were still favored by the folks, making their skills handed down from generation to generation. Until the Song Dynasty, the development and maturity of the paper industry also made the traditional paper art develop to a certain extent. Paper sculpture in the Ming and Qing Dynasties also gradually developed and matured, and reached its peak in its skills and arts. Ganzhou Hakka paper sculpture is a continuation of ancient paper carving techniques and innovative exhibitions. This design research takes the concept book design as the carrier, aiming to combine the artistic characteristics of Hakka paper sculpture with the communication effect of the concept book, and create a paper sculpture concept book design work with light, shadow and three-dimensional effect. It promotes Hakka paper sculpture from an innovative perspective, allowing readers to have a deeper and more convenient understanding of Ganzhou's intangible culture — Hakka paper sculpture art [1].


2.1. Hollow Art

Gannan Hakka paper sculpture is an innovative and developed art of carving and hollowing out based on the characteristics of traditional paper-cutting techniques. The hollow carving of each piece is superimposed by multiple layers to form a relief effect, making it full of unique expressiveness. All in all, Hakka paper sculpture is inspired by the traditional Chinese paper-cut art, and its novelty lies in the addition of superposition techniques.

The difference between paper sculpture and paper-cutting is that the art of paper-cutting uses scissors to carefully cut the folded paper according to the predetermined shape and pattern. After cutting, most of the paper-cutting art is to present a symmetrical pattern. The figures of paper sculpture are often like paintings. The overall art form does not pursue the beauty of symmetry. It needs to be manually carved and superimposed layer by layer. It requires a lot of time and energy of the craftsman to complete.

2.2. Three-Dimensional Art

Hakka paper sculpture is a hollow art that has been passed down through the ages, but its innovation lies in the three-dimensional light and shadow effect formed by layering the hollow art. Although the selection of paper sculpture materials is simple, paper sculpture artists have innovated the traditional Hakka paper-cut single-layer hollow art to create layered Hakka paper sculpture paintings. Using the hollowing art of traditional Hakka paper-cut and the new technique of layering, they can express the creative content richly.

The production steps of Hakka paper sculpture are to design the artwork on the selected paper first, and then engrave on the paper. According to the front and back relationship between the main object and the background of the picture, the sculptor sorts out the front and back relationship of the engraved paper, and carefully carves one by one, so each of the presented effects has its own differences, and the whole presents different changes. The last step is to glue the engraved paper together layer by layer according to the front and back relationship to form a whole. The entire paper sculpture works in a concave and convex three-dimensional state according to the situation, which is also the highlight of Hakka paper sculpture different from other paper sculpture arts [2].


Concept book is an innovative book design form that is rooted in traditional books but has a strong breakthrough nature and pursues multiple ways to realize book content. The overall design framework of concept books includes rational editing content and physical modeling structure. Rational editing content is the traditional content expression and book characteristics in books, that is, the functional characteristics of concept books; the physical modeling structure is an innovation in the form of communication of books, and the pictures are mainly reflected in materials and content display, which are the artistic characteristics of concept books. In short, a concept book is actually a book design that is rooted in the content expression function of traditional books and innovates its expression, giving readers an interactive, novel, and breakthrough reading experience. Due to the innovation and uniqueness of concept books, it is difficult to mass-produce them and circulate them in the market.

3.1. Artistic Features

The biggest difference between concept books and traditional books lies in their artistic characteristics, and the entire book design process is an exploratory design. The art form of concept books is mainly based on the form of expression and material craftsmanship to make breakthrough designs and unprecedented attempts in traditional books. The main purpose of concept books is to innovate readers' reading methods and change readers' traditional aesthetics of book art, and seek the design direction of future books on this basis. The significance of combining the design form of the concept book with the traditional Hakka paper sculpture art is that it can beneficially expand the mode of information transmission for readers, and can also provide readers with comprehensive and diversified knowledge, showing the Hakka intangible cultural heritage paper sculpture skills not only in the form of words, but also in the form of words. The eclectic artistic expression of concept books allows the public to get in touch with paper sculptures and understand the inherent craftsmanship and culture of paper sculptures, becoming the latest carrier for the dissemination and inheritance of intangible cultural heritage [3].

3.2. Functional Features

The artistry of concept books is also an innovation and breakthrough in the original function of the book to spread knowledge. Its design method also needs to follow the reading habits and basic scientific typesetting embodied in traditional books, in order to ensure the most basic communication function of the book. The concept books are a bold prediction and imagination made by the designer for the future book development trend. The reason for the combination of intangible cultural heritage and concept books this time is that concept books can not only innovate a large number of artistic designs but also continue to maintain the unique functional characteristics of traditional books. The multi-dimensional knowledge dissemination of Ganzhou's intangible cultural heritage paper sculpture, Hakka folk culture, Songcheng culture, etc. can be integrated in the inclusive concept books. Concept books can not only express the carving art of paper sculpture, but more importantly, the interactive emotional communication generated by multi-sensory interactive reading, and finally organically integrate the artistry and culture of paper sculpture [4].

For example, in 2019, the masterpiece of the French picture book diva Rébecca Dautremer — “I'm Waiting for You”, this book uses the world's top craftsmanship to create a three-dimensional perspective and a sense of time and space intertwined on the paper as thin as a hair. The use of paper sculpture skills in books has received a lot of praise.


At present, a large part of intangible cultural heritage is gradually disappearing and declining. The reason is that most people do not know about intangible cultural heritage or even know its existence. Today's large-scale production of machinery also brings pressure to the inheritors of handicrafts, making the inheritance of intangible cultural heritage handicrafts fall into layers of difficulties. Many folk arts and crafts have been lost, and the inheritance and protection of intangible cultural heritage handicrafts requires great attention from all walks of life. Ganzhou intangible cultural heritage Hakka paper sculpture is a handicraft that combines traditional inheritance and modern innovation. It not only contains the profound history of the development and evolution of Chinese paper sculpture in past dynasties, but also reflects the Hakka people's new development and innovation of traditional crafts.

4.1. Culture Inheritance Difficulties

The current inheritance difficulties of Ganzhou Hakka paper sculpture are like those of other handicraft intangible cultural heritage. People in a large part of Ganzhou still don't know much about the production process of Hakka paper sculpture and its inherent historical heritage culture, or even the existence of Hakka paper sculpture. As a result, the Hakka people have very little awareness of the protection and inheritance of Hakka paper sculpture, lack of training of intangible cultural heritage inheritors, incomplete laws and regulations on the protection mechanism of intangible cultural heritage, insufficient publicity and insufficient sources of protection funds [5].

At present, the inheritance and protection measures for Hakka paper sculpture are also too small in scope, and more efforts are needed to combine traditional culture with modern industries to improve the public's awareness of cultural protection.

For the protection of the traditional paper art intangible cultural heritage of Hakka paper sculpture, it is a must to clearly know that each project carries a unique historical mission and cultural value. Every craftsman in the Hakka area deserves to be highly valued and protected. The inheritance and innovation of Hakka paper sculpture also represent the crystallization of the wisdom of the Hakka people. The artistic content expressed by Hakka paper carving also has the unique history, culture and living customs of Ganzhou Hakka, and contains the local spirit and customs, which is unique and irreplaceable.

4.2. Fine Craftsmanship

Zhang Shoujiang, the intangible cultural heritage inheritor of Hakka paper sculpture, introduced that “the production of Hakka paper sculpture in Ganzhou can be divided into six major processes: drawing draft, drawing decomposition, material selection, engraving, trimming, and superimposing. The first step of drawing draft is divided into creative draft and shooting material, both of which need to be clearly drawn on the drawing paper; The second step is drawing decomposition. This step is the key step to make the engraving picture produce a three-dimensional effect. It needs to analyze the layering effect of the picture carefully. Even the small tiles in the building in the engraving picture can be divided into more than ten layers; the third part of the material selection is mainly to choose the engraved paper. Generally, Mr. Zhang Shoujiang uses textured coated paper or kraft paper; the fourth part of the engraving is the main link. It begins to be decomposed according to the previous drawings. The overall engraving steps are from top to bottom, and the intensity is moderate; the fifth part is trimming, which is to start repairing the places with burrs or unevenness. The craftsman first uses a shaping pen to scrape the back of each part of the paper, and then uses a scratch pen to “trace” the lines drawn in the previous stage, and the picture will appear three-dimensional; The sixth part is superimposing, that is to glue the carved parts in sequence into a whole layer by layer according to the requirements of the decomposition instruction diagram.

The division of Hakka paper sculpture production links makes the production division of Hakka paper sculpture clear and practitioners may be engaged in one process in their entire lives. It is difficult to meet the current production needs, and it is difficult to pass on the skills to the next generation in the current environment. In comparison, the initial process of Hakka paper sculpture has low technical content. Many other paper sculptures can cooperate with machines to improve efficiency, and the competition is becoming more and more fierce. Its fine hand-making skills have also become a major difficulty in its development [6].


The combined design of Ganzhou Hakka paper sculpture and concept books not only allows readers to fully understand the artistic characteristics of Hakka paper sculpture, but also read the written materials in the books to gain in-depth understanding of the history and culture behind the intangible cultural heritage. The design of a concept book starts by following the title design in the book tradition. The artistic feature of Hakka paper sculpture — its difference with other paper sculptures is its three-dimensional effect. Mr. Zhang Shoujiang said: Paper sculpture is a kind of hollow art. The hollow art like paper cutting has been circulated among the people for thousands of years. The hollow art has an extension, that is, superimposing, and superimposing can make it a relief effect. From this, it can be seen that the difference between Hakka paper sculpture and other paper sculpture art lies in “superimposing”, and the title of this concept book is “Superimposition”. The content of the book is divided into two volumes, the first is a paper sculpture book, which mainly shows the carving effect of each layer of the paper sculpture. The second volume is a folded version of the intangible cultural heritage, mainly showing the inner culture and history of Hakka paper sculpture.

5.1. Artistry

The artistic features of Hakka paper sculpture lie in hollowing art, superimposing art, and three-dimensional art, so the design effect of the whole book is naturally formed by carving techniques, and the pages and pages also form a superimposed effect. A set of three-dimensional effects will also be formed after the pages are unfolded (Fig. 1). The engraved paper should not be too thin, and according to the overall book effect, the craftsman can use thicker 250g diamond paper with slight texture on the front and back for page-by-page engraving. The contents of the carvings are mainly the Bajingtai, the symbolic ancient buildings in Ganzhou City. The location of Bajingtai is the confluence of Zhangshui River and Gongshui River, and it is also a landmark building of the ancient city of Song Dynasty. On this basis, it can spread the regional culture of Ganzhou and the ancient Songcheng culture. After the engraving of each page is arranged, it is bound with a naked back, which is helpful for the display of the three-dimensional effect after the book is unfolded [7].

The book is presented as a whole in two volumes, and the format of the book is a small square of 13×13 cm. The overall book is small and exquisite and easy to carry. Finally, the form of double-layer book box is designed, and the two books of art and culture are respectively placed in the double-layer book box to form a whole set of books.

Figure 1

The artistic part of “Superimposition”.

5.2. Cultural Nature

For the inheritance of Hakka paper sculpture intangible cultural heritage, the most important thing is to attract people's attention, and the most important step to attract attention is to completely and effectively spread the inherent historical significance and cultural connotation of Hakka paper sculpture. Although there is a detailed introduction to paper sculpture in the Hakka Paper Sculpture Museum, it has not been organized into a book. It is difficult to show tourists a deeper skill when watching it. The records of the books can enable readers to read slowly and calmly, and have a deep understanding of the cultural connotation of Hakka paper sculpture [8].

The second volume of “Superimposition” (Fig. 2) is designed for the textual introduction of Hakka paper sculpture. It adopts the form of folding and packaging. The content of the introduction is divided into two parts. The first part is “Introduction to Hakka Paper Sculpture Craft”, and the second part is “Introduction to the Heirs of Hakka Paper Sculpture”. The first part includes four chapters: the origin of paper sculpture, “artistic features”, “production materials” and “creative process”. The classical vertical text layout reflects the classical charm of paper sculpture. The second part consists of six chapters: “Introduction of Inheritors”, “Creation Source”, “Work Introduction”, “Inheritors' Quotations”, “Inheritance and Innovation”, “Inheritance and Contribution”. In this way, the whole Hakka paper sculpture production culture is introduced.

Figure 2

The culture part of “Superimposition”.

5.3. Inheritance

The design of Hakka paper sculpture books based on concept books is to combine books and paper sculpture for a better combination. Hakka paper sculpture not only carries the inheritance of historical paper sculpture craftsmanship, but also carries a lot of information about Hakka culture and Ganzhou ancient Song city culture [9]. All these need to be discovered and carried forward in a form that modern people like and hear. The design of concept books is extremely inclusive, and can combine a large number of artistic techniques with text information (Fig. 3). Combining the two can give readers a better reading experience, and make the paper sculpture jump out of the glass frame, allowing readers to have a better tactile experience. This can make readers to experience the charm of Hakka paper sculpture, in order to further unconsciously spread and inherit the culture of Hakka paper sculptures, which is intangible cultural heritage in Ganzhou [10].

Figure 3

The flat patternmaking of “Superimposition”.


Application of Ganzhou intangible cultural heritage Hakka paper sculpture in modern concept books can further combine traditional paper art culture with modern emerging culture. While retaining the artistry of Hakka paper sculptures, it can also maximize the characteristics of books that can be recorded and disseminated, and inherit the artistry and culture of Ganzhou Hakka paper sculpture. Protecting intangible cultural heritage is Chinese people's recognition of traditional Chinese culture, and it is also Chinese people's responsibility. Hakka paper sculpture carries the Hakka culture, regional customs and ancient Songcheng culture of Ganzhou, and is also a traditional paper art that everyone can be proud of. In the face of the inheritance dilemma of Ganzhou Hakka paper sculpture, it is necessary to conduct better study, propose a more suitable inheritance and development model, protect the country's intangible cultural heritage on this basis, and improve the cultural self-confidence of Chinese people.


Jun Zheng, Hui Hua. Concept Books and Book Design Innovation [J]. Science, Technology & Publication, 2008. (in Chinese)
Hailun Xu. On the Morphological Space Design of Concept Book [J]. Art and Design, 2015. (in Chinese)
Jingren Lv. Tao of Book Design [M]. China Youth Publishing House, 2007. (in Chinese)
Jingren Lv. Lv Jingren Book Design Courses [M]. Hubei Fine Arts Publishing House, 2005. (in Chinese)
[Japan] Sugiura Kohei. The Birth of Styling [M], translated by Jianping Li, Jing Yang. China Youth Publishing House, 2002. (in Chinese)
Dan Zhou. Research on the Integration Path of Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection and Ideological and Political Education in Colleges and Universities [J]. China Journal of Multimedia and Network Teaching (Early Issue), 2020 (5). (in Chinese)
Yongping Qian. A Review of Research on Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Japan [J]. Journal of Hubei Minzu University (Philosophy and Social Sciences Ed.), 2010(5). (in Chinese)
Lili Fang. On “Inheritance of Inheritance” and the Reproduction of Postmodern Cultural Patterns [J]. Humanities World, 2015. (in Chinese)
Qing Tong Perspective. Jiangxi Paper Sculpture Artist: I Put My Hometown on Paper [EB/OL]. (in Chinese)
Ganzhou Tourism Development Committee. One Paper, One World: The Gorgeous Meeting of Paper and Knife, the Breathtakingly Beautiful Hakka Paper Sculpture [EB/OL]. (in Chinese)

Cite This Article

AU  - Juan Qiu
AU  - Yanjun Wang
PY  - 2022
DA  - 2022/11/21
TI  - Research on Concept Book Design From the Perspective of Intangible Cultural Heritage: Taking Ganzhou Hakka Paper Sculpture Book Design as an Example
BT  - Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Arts, Design and Contemporary Education (ICADCE 2022)
PB  - Athena Publishing
SP  - 301
EP  - 306
SN  - 2949-8937
UR  -
DO  -
ID  - Qiu2022
ER  -