Paper Making Village

bya Gabrielle at 3:17 PM

A few weekends ago Phil, Mayia(one of the Australians teaching with us), and I went to an Ancient Paper Making Village located about a 5 minute taxi drive from our front door. The village is pretty small, and if you spend an hour there – you’ve been there long enough to see everything.

I won’t go into too much detail about it. Writing something interesting about paper isn’t easy. I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.

This first picture is just a random building that I thought was pretty cool looking.

The Process(In My Words – Simplified and Probably Wrong)

To start the process, they have to create paper mush. To do that, they take big slabs of old paper(hurray for recycling) and let that round, heavy stone roll over it a couple hundred times until it is exactly that – mush. Then they take it and throw it into the container in the back right and let it float around a bit in some unidentifiable liquid until it breaks apart some more and turns to pulp. I think it may be a part of a cleaning process as well, but I really have no idea. It’s a complete assumption, as are most of my Chinese experiences since no one ever tells me what is going on.

After all of that, the pulp is then taken into another room and dropped into a vat of water. The pulp floats around in it and a man(or woman) drops this rectangle piece of wood covered tightly with mesh into it. He lets the pulp settle into the mesh and then slowly pulls it out. The mesh now has a thin layer of very wet paper laying on it.

In a very crafty motion, the man(or woman) takes the mesh covered rectangle out and lays the wet, paper side down next to the vat. It sits there for a few seconds and the it is lifted quickly, leaving behind a thin layer of paper on top of the many other layers of paper that have been made prior to that one. They sit there until a certain number have been created. I am not sure why the pieces don’t meld together, but they don’t. Each piece remains separate as they wait until the next step.

The sheets are then carried into yet another room. This particular room is very warm because there is a large wall in the center of it producing heat like one big iron would. A man or woman picks up one of the sheets of wet paper and places it on the wall. All of the water is almost immediately zapped out if it. You can see the steam flowing off of it. To make sure though, they take a brush and glide it over it until every drop of water has been removed. After that, they very easily take the dry piece of paper down and lay it in another pile.

That is the main process of paper making, but not the end. The dry pieces of paper are taken to another room where they are cut, stamped, or written on and then bound to be sold in the expensive Gift Shop.

Please don’t shoot me if I just completely mucked up the process of paper making, but like I said, no one told me what they were doing, I just watched and wondered. The place was pretty neat, and was worth the Y25 to get in. I have more pictures of the place that I will post. Hope you enjoyed your Paper Making tour. Heh.

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