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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 air dried.

1.Soaking:Bast strips are soaked in water and if necessary,dark parts of bast are cut off.

2.Cooking:A 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.

3.Washing & 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.

4.Again cooking:A 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.

5.Rinsing:The bast strips are put into a big bamboo basket.All the lye of ashes is rinsed away in water.

6.Beating:The 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.

7.Scooping:The 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 is stretched.

8.Drying:The 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 paper.

Paper making 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.

Reference:Ancient Paper of Nepal
by Jesper Trier

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