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Western Han

This writing material was made between 140 BC and 87 BC during the reign of Emperor Wudi. It was found in a tomb in Boqiao Township in the city of Xi'an in 1957. It is made of hemp fibre with the addition of ramie in some examples. It is the earliest plant-fiber paper in the world. In the West, the Egyptian invented papyrus around 300 - 400 BC, but although it is paper-like and vegetable, it is not a true paper. Papyrus gave way to parchment and vellum in the West, as the animal skins were more stable and could be folded. The Arabs introduced paper to the West in the 1100's.

China Index >> Shaanxi History Museum >> Han Dynasty

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Last update: March 2010
© Marilyn Shea, 2010