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Paper Mage (edition 2003)
Paper Mage by Leah R. Cutter
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451459172, Mass Market Paperback)In a small Chinese village during the Tang Dynasty, an unsure young woman has managed to elude the conventions of her society to become a gifted paper mage-one who creates magic with the ancient art of paper folding. Because her gifts are in demand for the protection they can offer, Xiao Yen must leave behind her beloved family and embark on a dangerous mission. Yet she has no idea that this looming adventure will shape the very woman she is to become.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:22 -0400)
Xiao Yen is a paper mage: She folds paper into an animal or a thing, then does magic, so the paper becomes what she's folded. However, she's a woman trying to fill a man's roll during the Tang dynasty, in China, and the only people willing to hire her are foreigners. Things go from bad to worse for Xiao Yen on her first assignment: She loses her lucky amulet, there are robbers on the trail, as well as treachery among her traveling companions. Before long, Xiao Yen must battle a warlord, attack a rat dragon, and destroy a Taoist immortal. But even bigger battles await Xiao Yen up ahead..
(summary from another edition)