infocobuild

The Story of Paper

The Story of Paper is a CCTV miniseries telling the history and development of paper invention and popularity. China is famous for four ancient inventions; perhaps the most significant of them is paper. The series consists of seven parts which explore various aspects of the history of paper: what to write on before paper was invented, Cai Lun's invention of paper, Xuan paper, and spreading of paper-making to the world. And also it looks at Louis-Nicolas Robert's paper-making invention and how his invention affected China and Japan.

The Story of Paper - Part 1
China is famous for four ancient inventions; perhaps the most significant of them is paper. The man who invented paper, Cai Lun, is counted among the most influential people of all time. But what did the Chinese write on, before Cai Lun's great invention? And where did he get his inspiration?

The Story of Paper - Part 2
The man who invented paper, Cai Lun, is still widely revered. Not so in his lifetime, however. It would take hundreds of years before his great invention was widely embraced. What do modern experts think caused this reluctance to use paper? Would an analysis of the composition of an ancient fragment reveal the answer?

The Story of Paper - Part 3
A piece of calligraphy written in the fourth century is generally considered to be the finest ever produced. But was the paper it was written on, part of the reason for its fame? The original of this masterpiece has been lost; but other works of calligraphy have managed to survive for over a thousand years. What were the techniques that ensured the paper's longevity?

The Story of Paper - Part 4
From the traditional line drawings of the Han Dynasty, through the post-Song splash-ink style of freehand brushwork, and up until the present day, Chinese painting and calligraphy has been influenced by the paper it was done on. In art and paper circles, the name Xuan is associated with the finest quality. But where did Xuan paper originate?

The Story of Paper - Part 5
Paper, having been invented in China, spread to Japan. There, and in other parts of Asia, it was further refined. And yet, in Europe the belief persisted that paper had originated in Europe itself, or the Arab world.

The Story of Paper - Part 6
Even as late as the 18th century, Europe's paper-makers realized that they still had a lot to learn from China, the country where paper-making originated. In America, the great statesman Benjamin Franklin even wrote a thesis on Chinese paper-making.

The Story of Paper - Part 7
At the end of the 18th century, Frenchman Louis-Nicolas Robert initiated a revolution which became a turning point in the history of paper-making. But how would his invention affect China and Japan, where the traditions of paper-making went back well over a thousand years?


Related Links
The Story of Paper, Journeys in Time
The Story of Paper on Journeys in Time is a series telling us the history and development of paper invention and popularity.
History of Paper - wikipedia
Paper was invented by the ancient Chinese in the 2nd century BC during the Han Dynasty and spread slowly to the west via the Silk Road.
Ancient Chinese Inventions
This film brings some examples of ancient Chinese inventions in the fields - agriculture, domestic and industrial technology, warfare and transportation.