Mangtuan-based Stencil Paper of Dai People

The papermaking, as one of the four great inventions of ancient China, dated back nearly approximate 2,000 years ago. The complete process invented by Cai Lun in the Eastern Han Dynasty is still used in the folk hand-made papermaking extending nowadays in Mangtuan Village of Mengding Town, deserving the title of “living fossil” of ancient Chinese papermaking, and it is the most complete manual papermaking technology. Mangtuan-based papermaking technology was included in the “First List of National Intangible Cultural Heritage” by the Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China.

The Dai people in Mangtuan Village have 600 years of papermaking history. The raw material for papermaking is “made bark” and called “sand concealing” by the Dai people. The papermaking process completely preserves the historical inheritance of the original handwriting of ancient papermaking, and it is composed of 11 processes of material selecting, material drying, soaking, ash mixing, cooking, washing, beating, paper pouring, paper airing, rolling and paper drying. No chemical is added in the process of papermaking.

Once, the bark-made paper was mainly sent to the Buddhist temple for copying the scriptures, recording the history and culture of the Dai people; or issuing notices, official documents and employment documents made by the head of minorities in Yunnan; or mounting dragons and phoenixes, elephants, horses, deer, etc. Presently, the paper produced presents more commercial value. Mangtuan-based papermaking earns far-reaching reputation in the field of art. Thanks to special grains and texture of handmade paper, Mangtuan-based paper is extremely suitable for writing calligraphy and drawing ink paintings. The tea merchants producing tea specially favor Mangtuan-based paper in terms of tea packing, the tea packed with full of Mangtuan-based paper completely demonstrate profound tea history, simple and luxurious quality without deterioration, allowing the customers to extremely feel sincere wishes.

Presently, some youngsters also make innovation on the basis of this ancient memory. Fresh flowers and leaves are inlaid into handmade paper according to the design patterns of individuals, being unique. These papers are made into notepads, desk lamps and fans. The flowers and leaves decorate the story of the paper, and the paper lays out the life of flowers and leaves.