Gao Fenglian's paper-cuts are the culmination of years of practice, understanding and experience. Her comprehensive study of the customs of North Shaanxi reflect the collective feelings, culture, ideology and life of the local people in this region. Gao's works are imbued with a strong awareness of continuing survival, and are beyond superficial imitations of nature. Her intimate observations on life have resulted in a distinctive creative language, and her works attest that paper-cuts constitute a discrete philosophy and art form. Her paper-cuts exude the rich residue of a totem culture, as seen in her vivid representations of the tiger totem as a symbol of heaven or the sun, and that of the snake (symbolising the dragon) as the symbol of earth and water. The symbols of the union of heaven and earth and ying and yang and continuous life in her work are so natural and essential that nature becomes an image of life itself. All ornamental dress details on human figures and the features of animals in Gao Fenglian's paper-cuts have their specific, implicit meaning.