About China > Geography > Local Products
Advanced Search
E-Mail This Article Print Friendly Format
Anhui Xuan Paper

Paper was invented by Cai Lun (7-121), according to historical records. Paper is of many kinds, but Xuan paper has been considered best throughout the ages for Chinese calligraphy. Xuan paper is produced in Jing County, Anhui Province. The county was under the jurisdiction of Xuanzhou Prefecture in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Jing County paper was first shipped to Xuanzhou, then transshipped to other ports. That is why Jing County paper is called Xuan paper. The paper is soft and fine textured, suitable for conveying the artistic expression of both Chinese calligraphy and painting.

Xuan paper features great tensile strength, smooth surface, pure and clean texture and clean stroke, great resistance to crease, corrosion, moth and mould, for which, it has known for longevity paper that can be preserved for a long time. There are numerous kinds of Xuan paper, and quality depends on whether the paper is unprocessed, processed or half-processed. Unprocessed paper, or Shengxuan, absorbs water easily, and ink infiltrate through this paper easily, too. Processed paper, or Shuxuan, goes through a process whereby gelatine made from bones and alum is added. This kind of paper does not absorb water easily; it touches stiff or hard. Half-processed paper has a neutral character in that it absorbs water, but it does not infiltrate easily.

On the International Exposition held in Panama in 1915, Xuan paper got the first prize and hence made its fame worldwide. In the last years of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Xuan paper manufacturing was already in decline. After the founding of new China, with vigorous support of the government, this industry recovered its former prosperity and has been developing very fast. Moreover, it has become one important exporting industry of Anhui.