Traditional Chinese Concerted Paper

China Intangible Heritage Industry Alliance

A Brief Introduction of Traditional Chinese Concerted Paper
The making of traditional Chinese concerted paper is the development and continuation in terms of techniques of papermaking, which is listed as one of the four greatest inventions of ancient China. Traditional Chinese concerted paper refers to the paper that has obtained a better texture, a more exquisite look and richer cultural elements after ordinary paper going through procedures including powder coating, waxing, calendering, and painting of patterns. Not only has its artistic beauty been enhanced via these procedure, the converted paper can also gain a longer service life.

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.

Dye the paper.

Dry the paper.

Craftsmanship of painting with a pigment mixed with gold powder.

Classic Pieces of Traditional Chinese Converted Paper by Liu Jing
Born in 1972 in a crafters’ family located in Huilu town of Anhui province, Liu Jing engaged himself in the study and practice of traditional Chinese converted paper under the influence of his family. In the past years, Liu Jing, together with his father, has been trying to replicate the renowned types of ancient Chinese converted paper that can be put in use in the present day. They finally succeeded in replicating the powder & wax-coated paper with hand-painted gold patterns in 1999 after ten years of efforts, bring fen la qian, or powder & wax-coated paper, back to life, which was one of the ancient treasures in the study of ancient China. Liu Jing has also successfully duplicated many other famous types of ancient Chinese converte

Liu Jing is painting patterns with a pigment mixed with gold powder.

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.

Mineral-blue Dragon Medallions. The motifs of dragon medallions on the paper, an auspicious and sacred symbol for the emperors in ancient China, were painted purely by hand stroke by stroke.

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.

Auspicious Bats. Bats have been a popular choice in the Chinese decoration art for auspicious motifs of fortunes based on the homonym of “bat” and “good luck” in the Chinese language. This piece of paper features painted bats flying through clouds, offering best wishes for good luck.

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.

Lions with Embroidered Silk Balls. This piece features the pattern of lions playing with an embroidered silk ball, painted with a pigment mixed with gold powder, conveying an auspicious meaning of warding off evil beings and everything going as wished.

Dragon in Clouds. The mythological dragons have long been seen as the king of all beasts, thus a symbol of emperors in ancient China. A five-claw dragon playing with a fire ball surrounded by rising clouds was illustrated on this paper with gold lines.

Powder & wax-coated Paper with Hand-painted Dragons and Clouds.

Six Dragons in Clouds.

This piece features the pattern of dragons flying through clouds painted with a pigment mixed with gold powder.

Powder & wax-coated Paper with Hand-painted Dragons Flying Through Clouds. It uses the same technique as the above.

Flowing-sands Fine Paper (square). This is a kind of converted paper of the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD). It has a surface texture just like that of the sands after being blown by wind, hence the name.

China Intangible Heritage Industry Alliance
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