More on Rice Paper (Not Made from Rice)

In Chinese, rice paper is called “Xuan” paper. The name originated from the place where it was/is manufactured in Xuanzhou fu (today’s Jingxian) in Anhui province .

There are over sixty varieties of “xuan” paper that are made from mulberry tree barks, qintan tree barks (an elm species that sheds its barks), bamboo, hemp, and other materials. What the paper contains varies from region to region.

But overall, Chinese paper has long vegetable fibers which do not disintegrate even when fully submerged in water. This quality also allows wet mounting techniques to develop as a way to preserve, strengthen, and display (with scrolls instead of frames) the paper and the art on it.

Most of the highest quality Chinese paper made for painting and calligraphy are hand made but only accounts for 1% of the production in China today. Hand made xuan paper can involve over 140 steps.


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