Paper is considered one of the four great Chinese inventions, along with the compass, gunpowder and printing. It came into general use at the end of the Han dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.) which encouraged the popularity of calligraphy. Ancient in origin, paper-making involves many steps. Often called “rice paper”, the best kind is in fact made of rice straw and the bark of a type of sandalwood tree, but sometimes also blackberry bark. Calligraphy paper is made of long, very fine fibres that quickly absorb ink; it is very different from the type of paper used for painting. This type of paper is absolutely essential.
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