Flower Plaque and
Paper Crafting Technique
Flower plaque is a kind of Hong Kong’s intangible cultural heritage. It is a traditional folk handicraft made of bamboo, bamboo strips, flowers, fabric, and plastics. From the choice of colours to the use of Chinese blessings and calligraphy, flower plaque indeed attaches great importance to Chinese etiquette and carries traditional cultural values.
It is made for both celebrations, such as festivals, wedding ceremonies, official openings, as well as funeral affairs. The flower plaques used in celebrations are mostly red and bright colours while those for funeral services are commonly in white, black and blue.
It is quite rare to see people doing and ordering flower plaque, fortunately many residents in the New Territories still keep this tradition. Every year when it is time for the Hungry Ghost Festival, flower plaque is still an essential element to the people and the festival.
To make a Flower Plaque
Flower plaque is made of geometric components. There is no fixed procedures nor component arrangements but a balanced and symmetrical design.
The frame of a flower plaque is built with bamboo, bamboo sticks and iron wires. Then, enamel paint and fluorescent ink would be used to draw on paper and cloth, which will be placed on top of the plaque’s frame. Decorations of real or fake flowers will also be placed on top. In the past, cotton would be glued on to the words to give a 3-dimensional look, but nowadays computer-printed or hand-written calligraphy are more common.
The celebratory flower plaques for wedding ceremonies or official openings would mostly be in red or other vibrant colors, with words in fluorescent colours. The flower plaques in Cheung Chau typically use fluorescent colors as the background.
The greetings vary according to occasions. The more common ones include “100 Years of Harmony” for wedding ceremonies, “Blessings as Full as the East Sea (Fu Ru Donghai)” for birthdays, “Blooming Business” and “As Many Guests as the Clouds” for business openings, and “Prolonged Sound of Birds(Mahjongs)” for Mahjong Schools.
Fengding (top): The peacock usually takes the top of the flower plaque, as a peacock flaunting its tail carries the blessings of good fortunes in the Chinese culture.
Longzhu (dragon column): There are 2 auspicious dragons flying around both columns on the sides. The 2 dragons look at and watch over each other.
Zhang (long), Sifangbao (square): These are the area for the calligraphy under the Fendding, showcasing the theme of the plaque. The background color is mostly green while the words are red.
Doudu (belly): The bottom part of the plaque is in the shape of an inverted trapezoid, mimicking the shape of a Chinese gold ingot, a symbol of wealth.
Wong Lai Chung
Master Wong Lai Chung is based in Sham Shui Po. He inherited his father’s business and took over Xinzhong Flower Shop. Master Wong was invited to the HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity and the Woofer Ten as a resident artist to bring new life to the flower plaque and paper crafting industry.
Master Wong noticed that the current flower plaque technique is gradually being forgotten, since the industry is failing to attract the interest or support of the younger generation. He then had the idea of creating small flower plaque, as well as hosting workshops, in order to tackle the problem. Master Wong believes in the spirit of innovation and is dedicated to change the public’s presumption of flower plaque - that the craft is not necessarily “old” or “conservative”, but in the arena of arts.