We are so happy to let you know that we just received some Korean Hanji paper for our online store! Below is some background and history on hanji paper itself.
What is Hanji paper?
Handmade papers have always had special appeal to people, especially to the craft enthusiasts. It’s an added bonus if it is of supreme quality, elite outlook and better durability. The Korean ‘Hanji’ or handmade paper covers all the above criteria and is therefore very well known worldwide. The Korean word ‘Han’ means Korea itself, and the word ‘Ji’ means paper.
The story beside Hanji paper:
The history behind Korean handmade papers goes way back. The paper making art started in Korea about 1300 years ago. Based on a piece of paper found in the ancient tomb of ‘Che Hyup Chong’, it is believed that paper making ran in Korea even before the 4th century. In fact, the very popular country for origami, Japan, had its paper making skills introduced by a Korean monk, Dam Jing!
Papermaking in Korea has always been practiced for the sake of its improvement, but it really flourished during 11-12th century in the Go Ryeo dynasty. During this time, Hanji was also known as Go Ryeo Ji, and was exported to China for publishing books and scripts. In the 14th and 15th century, colored Hanji was introduced and more and more people adopted it as an element of their everyday life.
The 19th and 20th century did not go very favorable for papermaking in Korea. Different political and inter-region disputes slowed it, though the skill never died in Korea. Above it, the cheaper western paper mills threatened the existence of Hanji to an extent. However, from 1945, Korea was bringing back all its traditions and was incorporating them in their lifestyles. Therefore, in the recent years Hanji has won its deserving position back again.
Processing of Hanji:
Hanji making requires paper mulberry, commonly known as ‘Dak’ in Korea, natural formation aid and clean water. Stripped Dak barks are needed here, so the barks are first steamed as it makes the stripping easier. Stripped Dak barks are sun dried and made eligible for use all through the year. The dried barks are then soaked in running water overnight, and scraped with a sharp instrument to obtain its inner white layer. It also helps remove the impurities retained in the barks.
Next, the material is cooked in an alkali solution that drives away the non-cellulosic elements from the fiber. After being cooked, the fibers are rinsed with clean water and kept in it for a long period so that the alkali residues along with other impurities wash away. To obtain a clean paper surface, Hanji makers take away the buds and scars by hand.
To separate the Dak fibers, they are beaten either with stone/wood panel or by automated equipment. When all the materials are processed, the moulding starts. Paper moulding is followed by couching and drying, which is the final procedure. The whole process is done under a careful observation in a view to serve the world with only the very best.
Use of Hanji:
There are many reasons why Hanji is so popular. Korean people has used Hanji in making all kinds of paper products including books, scripts, origami, window and door covers, jewelries, dolls, boxes, sculptures, armors and even in flooring! Korean Hanji is so versatile that it can be used in making anything.
Hanji especially makes a very good choice in forming origami figures as it is elegant looking, great to touch, and most unique of all, has thousand years of longevity!! Therefore, the figures made with Hanji will also be magnificent and durable, which is much needed in preserving origami forms.
Korean Hanji paper is now available at our online store. We hope you like it!