Printable Offerings by Studio Leung



Nicolas Cheng and Michael Leung of Studio Leung have created Printable Offerings, a collection of images of everyday items such as iPhones, Bic biros and Tempo pocket tissues that can be downloaded, printed and assembled into 3D models for use at Chinese festivals.


It is a Chinese tradition to burn replicas of useful items as gifts for the dead at festivals such as Qingming - which takes place on 5 April this year - and the Hungry Ghost festival in August.


Printable Offerings - 印祭品 in Chinese - are more environmentally friendly versions of the offerings traditionally bought in Chinese shops and supermarkets, since these are often printed on metallic or plastic material.


Printable Offerings come with instructions to "print on recycled paper, assemble with solvent-free glue and burn responsibly".

Studio Leung tell us: "A selection of gifts are ready to be downloaded as PDF files, assembled and offered to loved ones who have passed away. The selection ranges from the aspirational iPhone to quintessentially Hong Kong objects such as Tempo pocket tissues and the Octopus travel card."


"We have developed the first collection of gifts for the Qingming Festival next month, and will be doing a second collection for the Hungry Ghost Festival in August."

Here's some more info from Studio Leung:


It is customary within the Chinese community to burn paper gifts for family and friends who have passed away.

These gifts are made of paper and come in many product types. They are can be purchased in selected Chinese shops and supermarkets worldwide.

Printable Offerings aims to preserve this Chinese tradition and re-interprets it for modern life and lifestyles.

The Chinese tradition of burning paper gifts for family and friends, who have passed away, began in 739 A.D., during the Tang Dynasty.

The traditional belief is that when a person dies, their spirit will still need the things that they used when they were still alive. It is believed that if the spirit not content in the after-life, he or she will not bring good fortune to the living.

In response to this Chinese tradition and today's widespread access to the Internet, we have created a range objects to be printed, assembled and offered to loved ones.

Printable Offerings can be printed on conventional A4 home printers. It is a friendly contrast to existing paper offerings, which are often not made from paper, but metallic card and even plastics.

With Printable Offerings the production process has shifted from a mass manufacturing and consumer cycle, to one which is virtual and instantly accessible by people. It also providesan intimate and personal approach to choosing a gift.

Collection 1 has been designed in time for the Qingming Festival (April 5th) - a festival which encourages people to enjoy the Spring season and visit the graves of departed ones. The collection focuses on everyday objects that play a huge role in Chinese culture, such as the Octopus travel card and Bic biro.

Posted on Monday March 24th 2008 at 11:22 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • I kind of get it.

  • Sindre Widerberg

    Nice on Michael!

  • For sure, Studio Leung has come up with all the small offerings and not the larger ones (mind you, other than these daily objects, we Chinese even burn ‘maids’ and ‘cars’ which, even if not full sized, are 2/3 of the real thing for the dead). But I guess printing on large formats doesn’t really make economic and environmental sense for anyone anyway.

    Still, these printout offerings do look so much better than the traditional ones, which generally look cartoon-ish. Though I notice they did not come up with printable dollar notes, ha!

  • jamies

    is nice to print all small offerings item in A4/A3 printer at home, instead of buying those huge cars and houses model made out of metallic paper. maybe that’s alternative ways of reducing their impact on the environment.

  • Ben

    very graphic, seems somehow over the top celebrating what is an age old tradition, yet completly understand that it fits cultural etiquette and is alot nicer, but do you really think people are going to print on recycled paper, and use nice glue? Nice to know you’d like people to care. Can you set a site to print of the real 3D versions as well, or maybe add a link to where this already hapening in some of the factories.

  • Alice

    wicked. I wonder if this kind of thing could be utilised in other, less specific situations where a substitute for the real thing is needed? Hmmm. I really can’t think of an example, but Im sure there are some!

  • Jo

    Like in a dark ally when you don’t want your iPhone nicked stumbling home to catch a cab, taht what designed in obsolescence is about, you just buy another one. Apart from teh ritual, thi si printing in obsolescence a bit of waste of paper if you ask me.

  • amy

    I try to “google” how people burn paper gifts for their family, i really surprise how many papers are wasted for one ceremony. i believe every countries they have their own cultural value behind from ritual. if you ask me, how Spanish fight of flying tons of tomatoes in Buñol every year… i totally don’t get it what’s the reason!? But i’m sure for them is valuable. And when I took at this project, I can see the value in it.

  • john

    I found some useful link, how they burn paper gifts!

  • wendy

    I am glad to see that more people are googling to find out about this culture because saying that it is a waste of paper is totally missing the point.

    Burning paper offerings (such as paper mansions and paper maids) is an age-old tradition stemming from superstitious beliefs of the past. However with advancement in science and in the modern context, it has lost its original ritualistic value. Chinese youths are no longer interested and do not see the value in partaking in such rituals. And many of them (like myself) think that it is a gaudy flaunting of false filial piety. After all, there is more worth in being filial to your parents/family when they are actually alive.

    What is interesting about this project is that it brings back some elements of this culture, yet inject it with a contemporary but personal touch. I like the emotional value that is created when you go through the process of printing these items and personalising it with mementos from your relationship with the departed loved one. It is an experience that is sentimental and unique. Perhaps, this would make such tradition relevant again to the youths today and bring back the significance of festivals, such as Qin Ming, when people pay tribute to the dead.

  • Tim

    So surely one could propose a way of not wasting and burning paper in a age when we are focused on how we conduct our carbon footprint, when waste particular in relation to china, is rife, keep the ritual going, but perhaps suggest alternatives as well as making it more up to date and relevant to the youth of today.