Juche109(2020) / 5 / 15 /
Koryo Paper-Making Technique
The Koryo paper-making technique is one of cultural heritage of the Korean nation.
As a unique traditional technique of making paper from the fibre of paper-mulberry barks, it was created in Pyongyang and its suburbs before the early 1st century AD. According to historical documents, some excellent paper made in the periods of Koguryo (277 BC – AD 668) and Koryo (918-1392) were exported to the neighbouring countries, winning high appraisals there, and began to be called Koryo paper.
Another record says that Koguryo dispatched monk Tamjing to Japan in 610 to teach how to make paper.
Koryo paper was divided into dozens of kinds for purposes. Typical of them were joji (softly white and durable paper), chongji (blue-coloured paper), chongjaji (dark blue-coloured paper mainly used for writing the Buddhist scriptures), changhoji (tough paper pasted on doors and windows), hwangji (yellow-coloured paper for making handicrafts and packaging) and kyongmyonji (smooth paper).
Koryo paper was the best in quality. A Japanese historian said it was a wonderful paper beyond comparison with any kinds of paper of other countries, it was praised even in China as the best paper. A book compiled in France in 1894 said Koryo paper was soft and durable no matter when it was made and the books in particular, written in the period of Koryo and found in the European libraries, were neither yellowed with age nor eaten by worms.
Chronicles of the Feudal Joson Dynasty, a document recording the historical facts of 519 years of the feudal Joson dynasty written on Koryo paper, are still well preserved in the DPRK.
Koryo paper was also used in making umbrellas, fans, ornamental caskets and other goods.
The Koryo paper-making technique has been inscribed on the list of national intangible cultural heritage. It is being further enriched as required by the developing times.
Based on the technique, the DPRK is producing papers for preserving major documents and drawing the Korean painting. Of late, various functional papers for purifying environment and other purposes are being developed.