Header image courtesy of Wu Yi (via Unsplash)
Originally published by Beverly Ngai. Last updated by Celia Lee.
Chinese New Year (CNY) is well on its merry way and the city is getting primped and preened to usher in an auspicious year ahead. Apart from the mandatory spring cleaning and reorganising, decorating is an unmissable tradition in nearly every household—and arguably the most exciting activity among all the CNY preparations.
All the more reason to adorn our homes with lively shades of red and gold! If you’re looking to update your décor and really kick the festive spirit into high gear, here is where to find the most unique artisanal Chinese New Year decorations in Hong Kong.
Believed to be a harbinger of good luck and prosperity, glowing red lanterns are ubiquitous around Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival, but ones that are crafted from scratch the old-school way using bamboo are far and few between.
Manned by second-generation papercraft artisan Au-yeung Ping-chi, Bo Wah Paper Craft has been a permanent fixture in the local craft scene for nearly 60 years, attracting loyal, longstanding customers with its intricately crafted paper lanterns. You can take your pick from traditional oval and vase-shaped lanterns, or more creative varieties in the shape of animals, and even your favourite cartoon character.
Bo Wah Paper Craft, 2D Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 2776 9171
Boisterous, colourful, and extravagant, there is no doubt that the lion dance is one of the most iconic traditions performed during Chinese New Year. Whether or not you are involved in staging a lion dance performance, if you want to really deck up and bask in the festive spirit with a visually striking display, a traditional zhizha (紙紮; Chinese papercraft) lion head will surely do the trick as the centrepiece of your decoration.
Running a humble shop in Hung Hom, Master Yu of Ho Gei Zak Jok (豪記扎作) makes stunning lion heads with attention-grabbing detail every Chinese New Year. Sticking to time-honoured techniques and dedicating days to producing a single craft, Master Yu’s elaborate lion heads are truly artistic masterpieces that evoke the meticulous craftsmanship of a bygone era. Click here to read more about Master Yu’s journey as a papercraft artisan.
Hou Gei Zaat Zok (豪記扎作), 6A & 6B Cooke Street, Hung Hom | (+852) 2364 4732
Known for its intricate design and alluringly symmetrical patterns, Chinese decorative knotting is a folk art that’s steeped in history, dating back to the Tang and Song dynasty. While it’s not an entirely uncommon hobby among the crafty crowd, very few brick-and-motor shops in the city specialise in the dexterous tradition.
For a taste of this ancient handicraft at its finest, stop by Knotting Home in Kowloon Bay and get your hands on various lucky red tassels, animal knot ornaments, and knotted Chinese character displays. Everything here is expertly handcrafted by a local knot artist Mama Yueng, who pours her 40 years of experience and skill into every piece of work. Hang these exquisite knots on doors or in your living room as a good omen for the new year.
Knotting Home, Shop S114, 2/F, Phase 1, Amoy Plaza, 77 Ngau Tau Kok Road, Kowloon Bay | (+852) 6239 8766
Something that is guaranteed to make an appearance every Chinese New Year is the pair of red paper strips with calligraphy on them, stuck to both sides of doors or on walls. Called fai chun (揮春), these decorations depict traditional CNY greetings.
You can find printed fai chun almost everywhere come CNY, even in supermarkets and stationery shops, but if you want the authentic version, look for the calligraphy masters who set up shop seasonally—usually on Upper Lascar Row opposite Man Mo Temple in Sheung Wan, or Tang Lung Street in Causeway Bay. Armed with ink and paper, these artists can furnish you with a fresh, handwritten pair of fai chun greetings for the new year.
When it comes down to it, Chinese New Year decorating is about making your space feel welcoming for the all-important bai neen (拜年; sending new year blessings) visits and family reunions—and what gives off a more homely and inviting appeal than earthy, wooden accents with gentle and welcoming lines?
Founded by five THEi design students, Dosha Woodcraft fashions all sorts of houseware and décor products out of salvaged wood scraps. For CNY, they have rolled out a special collection to help you add a touch of stylish festivity to your abode. Summon good luck with the beautiful wood-carved good fortune display or store your favourite nibbles in the elegant Chinese candy box, which doubles as a stunning table centrepiece!
Dosha Woodcraft, Room 1302, Kin Fat Industrial Centre, 13 Kin Fat Street, Tuen Mun