Paper-weaving painting has enjoyed a longstanding history in Gansu — an art form renowned for its delicate interweaving columns and rows that makes it virtually impossible to tell pieces of a painting apart. Artisans trim an ink painting into 2-millimeter strips and use them as "longitudes". Plain rice paper is prepared in the same fashion and used as "latitudes". The two are then weaved together to create a painting.
54-year-old Wei Wei came across paper-weaving paintings in 1983. After years spent to master his skills, he came across a novel style of painting using gold paper as "latitudes". For the whole process — brushing the paper with gold, trimming, sorting, weaving and framing — a work of gold paper-weaving painting takes 16 separate steps.
Gold paper-weaving painting was inscribed as an intangible cultural heritage in Pinglinag city. Wei has brought up more than 50 apprentices and hopes the art form can be passed on in time.