Zhizha, the making of paper dolls, is a traditional and mysterious Chinese craft, in which paper offerings are used as a mourning object or substitute in funerals or various ceremonies.
Its history can be dated back to the funerals and religious sacrifices in old times, during which the mourning objects could be living people or, later, the reputed Terra Cotta Warriors of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Following the invention and maturation of papermaking skills, paper dolls are in full swing since Northern Song Dynasty (i.e, about 1,000 years ago) and pass on from generation to generation.
A variety of fantastic tales have been told through paper dolls, as a traditional Chinese mourning object that features vivid images and profound mysteries.
Match: It?s a tool for starting a fire. The head of a match can be ignited by frictional heat. It was imported into China at the end of 19th century and dubbed Yanghuo then.
Padlock: Padlocks enjoy a history of 5,000 years in China. A padlock will be opened by inserting the key into the padlock from the right and then pushing the key and cylinder to the left.
Phonograph: An invention by the American inventor Thomas Edison. It was introduced into China at the end of 19th century. Put a black record on the cylinder and turn the crank. Then the record turns around and music will come out from the flaring horn.
Censer: A necessary utensil for praying, worshipping Budda, and sacrifice. People often kindle and put three incenses into a censer to worship deities and pray for protection.
Tiger-head bell: A bell which is made of bronze and like a tiger?s head. It is used as a utensil for deterring evil force. As to Fengshui, a bell is hanged onto a specific door to deter evil force, dissolve misfortune, and safeguard peace.
Phurba: A Tibetan Buddhist ritual dagger made of such material as bronze, silver, wood, and ivory. It can seal up various kinds of evil influences.
Doll piercing: Similar to Voodoo doll, it is a kind of method, which spreads among Chinese people, for cursing, in which the implementer may also be hurt.
Prayer beads: A ring of beads made of bodhi or wood, used in praying, reciting, repetition, execration or meditation of some oriental religions. An ordinary people can also wear consecrated prayer beads to pray for peace.
Wet nurse: In ancient times of China, quite a few women of royal families and nobles were not willing to feed on their own but employed a wet nurse to breastfeed their babies. A wet nurse enjoys a high social class as a senior servant, because she feeds the babies of her owner and take care of them when they grow up. The relationship between a wet nurse and a baby may be much closer than that between the baby and his/her biological mother.
Maid: Often young female servant. Like a slave, she has no personal freedom. She takes care of the daily routines of her owner or does some chores.
Retainer: The talented people who lived as dependents under a noble or officeholder and serve their masters. Some of them had genuine knowledge and capabilities, but some others enjoyed an undeserved reputation.
Steward: People who managed servants and affairs for the family of a noble or officeholder.
Book-boy: A boy serving in the study of his master. He often arranges the study, helps with grinding the ink or purchasing books.
House guard: Guards who protect the houses for a noble or officeholder
Painter: A painter with excellent painting skills.
Ghost astray: One gets lost in a place and cannot get out. He does not know where he can go either.
Ghost possession: The body of a man is possessed by another soul and his behaviors are out of his control. He may do dangerous things that get his body hurt.
Ghost obsession: A man indulges in something after he dies because his wills have not been fulfilled.
Fierce ghost: Different from other ghosts, a fierce ghost is very aggressive as it suffered a lot and cannot be reincarnated easily. A religious ritual is needed for reincarnation.
Sealing: A kind of religious technique, some of which need the assistance by such objects as talisman and ritual tools. A ghost or demon which has been sealed will temporarily lost movement and cannot escape from sealing by itself.
Deliverance: Release souls from purgatory by repetition.