China Gongchuan Villagers Make Sha Paper by Hand

Uploaded by on Aug 30, 2011

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In some parts of
China, it seems the traditional art of papermaking by hand has been preserved.
Let’s take a look.

In China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region,
Gongchuan city, some villagers are still making Sha Paper by hand. It’s a
longstanding tradition that’s slowly dying out.

Sha Paper production
began during the Tang dynasty and was used widely during the Qing dynasty.
Gongchuan village is the biggest producer of Sha paper, and many families take
part in making it.

The entire process involves mashing bark and leaves
of gum trees, and drying them. It takes about four days. Sheets of paper can be
seen left everywhere around their houses to dry. The finished product is usually
sold as an additional source of income.

However, as Sha paper is only
used to bind paper money stacks or used to wrap foods, the demand for it is low.
Most villagers only engage in the craft during slack farming seasons, and those
that do so are usually elderly above the age of fifty.

[Qin Weishou,
Villager]:
“Young people seldom care to learn and make the paper. If this
situation continues, this old handicraft might disappear before too
long."

[Wei Youhu, Secretary of Village]:
“Of the villager’s 1,100
households, more than 600 were engaged in the trade in the past, but the current
number stands only at 300. More and more villagers are dropping out."

Sha
Paper used to be exported to Canada in the 1930s, but with time, the increasing
price of raw materials and changing demand has made it an art that is only
preserved now through villages like Gongchuan.

 

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