The art of making
handmade paper has been of the great importance attached to the
Himalayan culture.It seemed to have been developed in Nepal around
7th century.Among the several species of Thymelaeaceae used for
making paper available in eastern and western region of Nepal.The
paper made from Daphne papyracea and Daphne Bholua (West and Central
Nepal) are less knoty and white.In the western region of Nepal,the
district of Banglung,Nanglibang,paper are made from these species.Of
the two species,Daphne papyracea said to give the finest and whitest
paper.The method of making paper is introduced to make familiar
with the process of making paper completely by hands.
The paper makers
establish their workshops close to their village and on their own
land.They do not build huts,but arrange workshops in open air in
the terraced fields,close to the stream,high enough up for water
to be free of mud and the remains of plants from higher fields.Furthermore,the
workshops prefer to be in a windy place as the paper is sun and
strips are soaked in water and if necessary,dark parts of bast are
big copper cauldron is set over a fire.12 lbs of ashes,water and
five lbs of bast strips are put into it.They are cooked for half
an hour and then turned up.After another half an hour of cooking,when
the strips can be turn with the fingures,the cauldron is carried
to the wash place.
Rinsing: the bast strips are placed on top of a stone slab where
aboundant water from the flume can be wash them.After removing all
the ash particles,the strips are dried.Then the black and coloured
impurities are cut away very thoroughly.
sawn off kerosene can,formerly a bamboo basket,is placed on a stone
shelf near the water basin.The bottom of the can has been perforated
with numerous holes of about ½ cms in diameter.It is half
filled with wood ash,on which cold water is poured.The water oozes
through the ash,out into the stone shelf and down into the couldron.This
is one more placed up the fire place and the bast strips put into
it.This time the cooking only lasts for half an hour.Then the strips
are turned and stirred from time to time regularly.
bast strips are put into a big bamboo basket.All the lye of ashes
is rinsed away in water.
bast strips are then beaten with wooden mallet for the numbers of
moulds to be filled in.The beaten mass is carried to the basin and
placed in a big vessel containing about 50 litres.
paper maker squats down the basin and the vessel and scoops water
from the basin into the vessel.Then the bast mass is mixed with
water simply by stirring with a wooden stick.The paper maker pours
6 or 7 pots full of pulp regularly on the surface into the moulds
which are big frames under which a piece of fine meshed indian cloth
moulds are then placed at about right angles to the sun rays and
dried in by sun and wind.After drying,the paper is loosed from the
cloth in the moulds to get the cleaner and more homogenous white
around Banglung differs on may points from paper making in Central
and East Nepal in the size and quality of the paper,methods of production
and organization.The method applied in banglung district less premitive
and more reminiscent of Tibetan paper making.
Paper of Nepal
by Jesper Trier