Black paper cut art with cows, calves, goats, a horse and cart, trees, fir trees, flowers, chalets and mountains on a white background. ©  CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Ueli Hauswirth / ©Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus

Paper cut art depicting a ‘Züglete’ cattle drive


Paper-cutting at its finest – the centuries-old craft

A man sitting on a sofa and showing a work of paper-cut art. There are lots of framed paper-cut artworks hanging on the walls.

Paper-cut Gstaad

©  CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 unbekannt / ©Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus

He puts his heart and soul into running his restaurant and museum together with his wife Marianne, and is committed to the preservation and spread of paper-cutting. He tells us about the history of paper-cutting, explaining that it first appeared in Asia – in China, to be precise – from where it spread to the Middle East and Europe via the Silk Road. Paper-cutting is deeply rooted in the region around Saanenland, with a long tradition dating back to the 18th century. Hans-Jürgen has been learning the art of paper-cutting since 1989, and he hasn’t been able to stop since. When he talks about the craft, his eyes light up and we can feel his enthusiasm for it.

Hans-Jürgen is proud of the oldest piece in his collection, made in 1701. A paper-cutting masterpiece, it shows a commemorative letter for a name day. His collection also includes many other beautiful pieces that reflect history and culture. At the beginning of January 2023, 671 paper-cut artworks from the collection of the ‘Scherenschnitt Schweiz’ Swiss paper-cutting association were brought from the archive in Blankenburg to the newly built museum in Château-d’Oex, where they can be admired on a touchscreen monitor or in the original. It’s lovely to see passionate people like Hans-Jürgen who are dedicated to fostering and preserving the craft of paper-cutting, which helps to ensure that history and culture live on and are around for future generations to enjoy. After all, the tradition of paper-cutting is a precious legacy that needs to be protected and promoted. 

Three framed paper-cut artworks hanging on a wooden wall.

Paper-cut Gstaad

©  CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 unbekannt / ©Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus
©  CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 unbekannt / Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus

Hans-Jürgen’s display cases contain pieces from all over the world that reflect the diversity and beauty of paper-cutting. The majority of the collection comes from France, Germany and Switzerland. The Swiss paper-cut artworks are influenced by Swiss tradition and show typical motifs from the region, such as Alpine landscapes, animals or farmhouses. Historical events and personalities are also frequently seen in the designs. The variety of exhibits in Hans-Jürgen’s display cases demonstrates how the craft has developed over the centuries and taken shape in different countries and regions. It is an impressive testament to the beauty and significance of this art form, which has lost none of its charm or appeal to this day. 

Musée du Pays-D'Enhaut & Centre Suisse du Papier Découpé

Paper-cutting enthusiasts and anyone who wants to learn more about the craft will love the paper-cutting museum in Château-d’Œx. This museum was established in collaboration with Scherenschnitt Schweiz, the association for Swiss paper-cutting, and is entirely dedicated to the history and art of paper-cutting.

The picture on the right shows a renovated, older stone house with the basic colour yellow-brown. The window frames are painted white and it has green shutters. The house has 3 storeys and the roof is also painted white. To the left is a modern concrete building with a large front window. Behind it you can see the other rooftops of the village and the green meadow and further up the forest and there is even snow on the mountain peaks.

Silhouette Museum from the outside

©  CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Personnel du Musée du Pays d'Enhaut & Centre Suisse du Papier Découpé / Musée du Pays d'Enhaut & Centre Suisse du Papier Découpé