Huang Shiguo’s Contribution To The World: Making Paper The Hard Way


“A 65-year-old resident of a Chinese village named Huang Shiguo has been making paper according to old traditional technology for the last 36 years. According to him, for a month he produces about 3,000 sheets of such paper, earning about 9,000 yuan or 1,400 dollars.
[Huang] argues that paper made in a traditional way is much more durable, quality and soft compared to the manufactured methods. The master sells its products in the local markets of China.”

At time of posting, 9,000 yuan is equivalent to US $1,355, so each sheet of handmade paper earns him about 45 cents. Not bad, given the cost of living in rural China, but he’s not living in rural China. He’s demonstrating and preserving ancient technology, and selling his expensive product while living in a tourist mecca. Pure undiluted capitalism. Kudos.

“Huang Shiguo, 65, makes paper using ancient methods in his home in Baishui Village, Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, Southwest China’s Guizhou Province. Huang said he began learning the traditional paper-making craft at 29 and has been dedicated to the ancient craft ever since. Locals in the area have a more than 1,000-year history of paper making as the region is rich in Yangshan Bamboo, a main material needed for the craft. Huang said the typical process involves 72 steps and 55 days to produce paper.”

[Photos and 1st caption (translated from Russian via Google Translate) found here. 2nd caption from here.]

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3 Responses to “Huang Shiguo’s Contribution To The World: Making Paper The Hard Way”

  1. learnchineseinqingdao Says:

    Super interesting. Always we are happy to hear that some people keep of with traditional methods.

  2. Leonard Jones Says:

    And ancient Deckle press. Believe it or not, the modern
    equivalent is called a Deckle roll. In modern paper mills,
    there are also touch, breast, and couche rolls. These
    terms have not changed for several hundred years
    after the inception of modern paper machines.

    Papyrus was made using manual deckle screens and
    presses. They serve to squeeze water out the wet pulp.

    With 14 years in the paper industry, I learned a lot of
    useless trivia.

  3. Bunk Strutts Says:

    Learnchin– I’ve always been fascinated with ancient technology. Decades ago there was a television series called “Connections” written and hosted by James Burke. It traced modern technology to ancient technology, except in reverse.

    Leonard– Thanks for the update. We made an approximation of paper in elementary school, but the results resembled frayed flammable hot pads. At least we didn’t have to make vellum

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