10 Things To Know About Paper History

  1. Paper and papermaking was invented in China 1,906 years ago (105 AD, during Han Dynasty).
  2. Cai Lun 蔡倫 was a Chinese imperial court official who first created a sheet of paper using mulberry, hemp waste, old rags, fishnets, and other bast fibers. Bast fibers are the inner bark or skin of plants such as jute, hemp, flax (linen), Wisteria, etc..
  3. Paper (more accurately early forms of paper) existed in China before Cai Lun but he greatly improved and standardized papermaking techniques by incorporating new materials.
  4. Chinese kept the secrets of papermaking technology for a long time before it eventually spread to Japan by Buddhist monks in 604. Mulberry tree was used to make paper there.
  5. Papermaking techniques made its way to the Middle East in 751 when China was defeated in a battle.
  6. In the 11th century, the earliest known paper document was found in Europe. The paper was likely made in the Islamic part of Spain. Hemp and linen were the source materials.
  7. Chinese used toilet paper at least since the 6th century.
  8. Chinese government also created the first printed bank note or paper money in Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD).
  9. The oldest surviving paper cutout is from the 6th century found in Xinjiang, China.
  10. Chinese Xuan or rice paper was made in early Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), about 1,100-1,400 years ago.