Sunday, 19 October 2008

Fuyang - Bamboo paper making.


After lunch at a traditional Chinese restaurant opposite Longman we boarded the bus for the journey to Fuyang and our next stop, which was the bamboo paper making place just out of Fuyang's history goes back to the Qin Dynasty (221BC-206BC) but is now a modern city - but as usual in China a good mix of the ancient and the new. You can read a little about this city here.

Our destination was a tourist spot which featured the old art. For years paper has been made in this region from huge bamboo that grows in the hills around Fuyang.

The bamboo is pulped and is held in big vats. Boiling water and crushing creates the pulp, and the worker will drop a frame into the pulp, bring it out, and transfer it from the frame to a pile of pulp which is easily seperated in the next part of the process.
In the next area there were four workers with a pile of the paper, which easily peeled off and was put on a hot wall, where it takes 15 seconds for the paper to dry, and it is then peeled off again into a pile of paper ready for use.

These huge piles of paper are ready for sale. We went into another room and were able to use a wood block and some bamboo paper to make our own prints.

There were parts of the establishment that looked somewhat neglected and we found rooms with old things - old manufacturing items. One was the wooden pulp making equipment - where the worker would use a wooden arm to help crush the bamboo.

Our next stop was the inevitable shop - but a little disappointing. The books and paper were expensive and mostly in Chinese. I wondered what my family would do with this expensive Chinese sourvenir when I no longer want it. There was one book, with the Tao instructions, in English but it was 800 RMB. More than any of us would enthusiastically want to spend! Perhaps it would have been nice to be able to purchase some wood blocks - but we have found they are available in other places anyway.

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