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Danish Order of Dannebrog Rewards Chinese Artist
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Lu Xue, a renowned Chinese paper-cutting artist, was awarded on Wednesday an exceptional Danish decoration, the Silver Cross of the Order of Dannebrog, for her contribution to Sino-Danish cultural exchanges. His Royal Highness Prince Henrik, the prince consort of Denmark himself, pinned the cross on Lu at a ceremony held at the Danish Consulate-General.

"You are being decorated because of your tremendous support and endeavor in the promotion of Danish culture in Hong Kong (region) and China, especially to our great author and storyteller Hans Christian Andersen whose bicentennial we celebrate in 2005," Henrik said.

He added that he hoped Lu would further the link between Denmark and China in terms of cultural promotion and exchanges through her art.

"I am greatly honored and excited to be given such award, which means that Chinese traditional paper cuts have been well received by the Danish people," Lu told Xinhua after the ceremony.

She announced that she planned to help promote cultural exchanges between China and other countries, revealing her next dream of depicting the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral and the characters in Victor Hugo's famous novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.

"I am deeply intrigued by the magnificent architecture of Notre Dame de Paris and the hero and heroine in the novel," she said. "Just like I grew up with Andersen's tales, depicting Notre Dame de Paris has been my dream since I was young."

Hailing from Tai'an City from east China's Shandong Province, Lu learnt her skills from her mother as a child. With her learned experience and talent, her works capture the most lifelike images on paper. Her style explicates a poetic feel and a strong sense of aestheticism, leading the art of Chinese paper-cutting surpassing an art of craftsmanship.

Her 112 paper-cuttings depicting Anderson's tales were preserved in Andersen's Museum of Denmark in 2003. The paper-cuttings are based on some of Anderson's most famous fairy tales, including "The Emperor's New Clothes", " The Little Match-Girl" and "The Ugly Duckling."

Danish newspapers interpreted Lu's paper cuts as showing the popularity of Andersen's fairy tales in China, but also manifested an interpretation of Western culture from a Chinese perspective.

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Andersen's birth in 2005, Hong Kong issued a set of four stamps, based on Lu's paper cuts on Andersen's tales.

Armed with a pair of scissors, Ms Lu has been invited to display and lecture on her art of Chinese papercutting across Europe, America and Asia. She is acclaimed as an eminent artist and an art ambassador of the new generation of Chinese artists.

Also on Wednesday's ceremony, Prince Henrik presented a wonderful painting from Ddense, the native town of Andersen, to Morgan Lam, a Hong Kong district councilor and a papercutting enthusiast.

"The painting is an acknowledgment of your genuine dedication and extraordinary work in the promotion of Danish culture in Hong Kong especially in relation to Andersen," he said.

With the painting, Lam also received a letter of appreciation from the Mayor of Odense.

(Xinhua News Agency November 30, 2006)

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