Paper cutting can be found all over the world, but for the oldest surviving paper cut we have to look to China. The Chinese were creating papercuts 1,500 years ago.
However, this art which requires so much dexterity when done by hand, is also well known in India, the Phillipines, Japan and Mexico as well as Israel - in fact papercutting can be described as a global craft.
By the 10th century the art of paper cutting had spread to Europe where it is associated with folk art. As stencils it adorned painted furniture and was adapted to create popular silhouette portraits.
Eventually, in the magical paper-cutting art of Lotte Reiniger, the craft merged with film where her dream-like paper-cut silhouettes created haunting moving legends and fairy tales.
Today, the art of the paper cut is often produced on a commercial scale, still by hand but by laser machine too.
And talking of paper cut-out stencils - let's not forget Banksy whose street art depends on this technique for speed and accuracy.
The original technique, however it is achieved, results in a fragile, other-worldly effect that over the centuries has never lost its appeal. Paper-cuts make wonderful gifts or keepsakes.