Lun was a Chinese eunuch who greatly reformed the art of papermaking. He was
born in Guiyang (of today Hunan
Province of Central China) during the Eastern Han
(25-220), and became a paperwork
secretary; he was also assigned to the Shang Fang (imperial family's hand
workshop) of Emperor Hedi.
At that time, although the technology of papermaking has already been
invented, paper was used primarily among only common people. While most of the
literati did not favor the paper, Cai saw the prospect of paper, which could
substitute for silk. So Cai began to reform the papermaking technology
For papermaking, Cai earnestly summarized predecessors' experience and
improved the technology .Cai first used bark to make paper, which largely
enhanced the paper's output, because the dark material is richer than hemp.
Cai's paper (known as Cai Lun paper) was light and thin, strong and
inexpensive, and could be mass-produced.
Cai's contribution is considered one of the most important inventions in
history, since it enabled China to develop its civilization much faster than
with earlier writing materials (primarily bamboo), and it did the same with
Europe when it was introduced in the 12th or 13th century.