A unique paper making craft, mulberry-bark paper making has been inherited for over one thousand years in Purgakq township, Moyu County, Hotan, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which is listed as a Chinese national intangible cultural heritage.
A Mulberry-bark paper workshop in Purgakq township, Moyu County, Hotan, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. (Xinhuanet, Li Mengting)
A woman peels mulberry bark in Purgakq township, Moyu County, Hotan, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. (Xinhuanet, Li Mengting)
The raw material of making the paper is mulberry tree bark.The inner skin of the mulberry bark is glutinous and the fiber is fine and smooth, hence it is easy to process. The bark is peeled, soaked, boiled, beaten, fermented, filtered, molded and dried, before being made into paper. All by hand, the laborious and time consuming processes of making the paper explains why it remains rare today.
Buzeynep Simail is a mulberry-bark craftsman in the town. She is the 12th inheritor of the handicraft in her husband family. Now, She has mastered the complex process so well that she can produce an average of 10 sheets of (1-square-metre a sheet) the paper a day.
Buzeynep Simail checks a piece of mulberry-bark paper. (Xinhuanet, Li Mengting)
Buzeynep Simail beats the bark after it is boiled and soaked. (Xinhuanet, Li Mengting)
Mulberry paper, boasts a quality of being antiseptic, absorbent and tensile. As a result, it is widely used in painting and calligraphy mounting, wrapping, and handicrafts making paper such as umbrella, and so on. A few years ago, Xinjiang Academy of Chinese Painting introduced mulberry paper into the creation of Chinese painting. This combination gives both mulberry-bark paper and Chinese painting another possibility, to refresh the paintings more creative.
An artist is drawing on mulberry-bark paper.(Xinhuanet, Li Mengting)
A tourist chooses mulberry-bark paper to buy.(Xinhuanet, Li Mengting)
Nowadays, in order to protect and pass down this ancient handicraft, local government helps to renovate mulberry-bark paper workshops in the town, and build mulberry-bark paper craft inheritance center. More and more tourists come here to experience the charm of mulberry paper and buy mulberry paper as souvenirs, from which locals benefit a lot in increasing income.