Having served as important carriers for Chinese painting and calligraphy, such paper roughly falls into categories of powder & wax-coated paper with hand-painted gold patterns, fine paper with printed motifs in gold and silver, gold-coated paper, silk paper, paper with calendered patterns, etc.
This picture shows the process of thickening and mouningt the paper.
Buddhist Sutras Accordion-fold Leaflet in Goat-brain Paper. Goat-brain paper is a kind of ancient Chinese fine paper made by coating the mineral-blue paper with a mixture of goat brain and ink that had been stored in a dark place for a while. With a surface smooth as lacquer and shiny like mirror, such a mothproof and long-lasting variety of paper was often used for applying pigments mixed with gold powder. This accordion-fold leaflet inscribed with Buddhist sutras features hand-painted Buddha images in gold as well as page borders composed of hand-made motifs.
Flowering Branches. Patterns of branches with flowers of plum, orchid, chrysanthemum, magnolia, etc., were created on the paper with a pigment mixed with gold powder. Auspicious motifs such as bats, clouds, ruyi and peaches scatter around these blossoms. Composed of flowing curvy lines, these patterns look distinctively elegant and refreshing.
Replicate of Mingren Hall Powder-coated Paper with Patterns of Ruyi-shaped Clouds. This is a very expensive kind of paper made via meticulous and ingenious craftsmanship. With a smooth and refine surface, it is decorated on the front with beautiful and decorous patterns of ruyi-shaped clouds painted with a pigment mixed with gold powder, while its back has a coating of yellow powder mixed with gold pieces.
Refined Hand-made Paper with Patterns of Cracked Ice and Plum Blossoms. Originated during the reign of Emperor Kangxi in the Qing dynasty (1644-1912 AD), this is a famous variety of high-quality handmade paper usually cut in squares with sideline length ranging from 25cm to 50cm. On the basis of ready-made bast-fiber-paper as foundation material, the production of such a high-end fine paper involves procedures including powder coating, waxing, calendering, and painting of patterns of cracked ice and plum blossoms with a pigment mixed with gold powder.
Pines, Bamboo and Plum Blossoms (Three Friends in Winter). This is a traditional Chinese auspicious pattern named “Three Friends in Winter”, namely, a combination of pines, bamboo and plum trees, the three plants known for overcoming the bitter winter. Delicate and elegant pine trees, bamboo and plum blossoms were illustrated on the paper with a pigment mixed with gold powder.
Cranes and Peaches for Longevity. Legend has it that cranes, just like tortoises, live the longest life among the birds and animals. That’s why the Chinese people usually adopt the terms of “long life as cranes’” or “age of cranes” when expressing birthday wishes. The hand-painted picture like this one, namely, a combination of cranes, auspicious clouds and peaches, has been a fixed pattern, sometimes with different details, to extend wishes for longevity.