Jewish and Mexican Paper Cut Craft Traditions Come Together!

We are excited that our partnership with Casa Bonampak has resulted in a new line of Judaica Papel Picado (paper cut) Banners. Current offerings include a metallic banner for Chanukah, and two tissue paper banners, one featuring Jewish spiritual symbols and a Mazel Tov celebratory banner. A new wedding banner to be used with a chuppah and at wedding celebrations is in development.

Chanukah BannerPapel picado (“perforated paper”) is the Mexican folk art of paper cutting into elaborate designs. The designs are commonly cut from tissue paper using a guide and small chisels, creating as many as forty banners at a time.

Common themes includes birds, floral designs, and skeletons. They are commonly displayed for Easter, Christmas and the Day of the Dead, as well as during weddings, quinceañeras and christenings. Papel picado can also be made by folding the tissue paper and using small, sharp scissors.

Spiritual BannerPaper cutting has been a common Jewish art form since the Middle Ages. In 1345, Rabbi Shem-Tov ben Yitzhak ben Ardutiel, finding that his ink had frozen, continued to write the manuscript he was working on, by cutting the letters into the paper. By about the 17th century, paper cutting had become a popular form for small religious artifacts such as mizrachs (an ornamental wall plaque used to indicate the direction of prayer in Jewish homes) and Shavuot decorations. In the 20th century, the art of Jewish papercutting was revived in Israel. Today it is most commonly used for mizrachs and ketubot.

Fair Trade Judaica worked together with Casa Bonampak to design and produce each of these banners. They can be purchased on-line at the Casa Bonampak web site.