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Cai Lun, Chinese paper maker

Cai Lun, Chinese paper maker

H403/0359

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Cai Lun (57-121), Chinese paper maker, supervising a worker. Cai was a Chinese enuch who is attributed with inventing the paper making process, which is essentially the same as it is today. Bark, hemp or rags were boiled and beaten to a pulp (background, right). A wooden frame of reeds was dipped into the pulp and shaken to align the fibres. Finally the pulp was dried and bleached in the sun before being lifted off the reeds (foreground). This technique passed to the Middle East, then to Spain before arriving in Western Europe.

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