What is Hanji?

Hanji literally means The Paper of Korea. It has been a part of Korean life and tradition for over a thousand years. Hanji is an extremely durable and high-quality paper, made from the inner bark of the mulberry tree, which grows well in Korea. 

Hanji is used in very many ways :
  • covering for doors and windows of traditional Korean houses; 
  • calligraphy paper;
  • printing paper for important documents and books;
  • wall papering;
  • household objects: fans, tobacco pouches, notebooks, shrouds, rope and string, baskets, shoes, clothes, umbrellas, etc.
  • arts and crafts.
An old Korean saying states that Hanji paper lasts a thousand years, outlasting silk or hemp by 500 years.

What does make Hanji so special? How can it be so durable?

The answer is in the bark of the mulberry tree. This bark is so strong that it can be immersed in water for an entire year without decomposing! Also, as the fibers of the bark are wide, it allows both air and light to go through.The mulberry pulp is naturally PH neutral and has an incomparable longevity; the fibers of the mulberry pulp are longer, more flexible and more resistant than other plants'. Its extraordinary resilience makes it a prime choice for archival use; that's why the most important documents in the history of Korea have been written or printed on Hanji paper.

Traditional Korean Hanji is made with mulberry pulp and clean water, without any fillers nor additives.

"Since 1945, Korean lifestyle underwent a dramatic overhaul. Traditional thatch top houses, which used a lot of handmade paper for walls, doors, windows, and flooring, were replaced by western architecture. Hanji was no longer an integral part of daily life and its main consumers were reduced to artists who practiced traditional ink painting or calligraphy. However, in recent years, a renewed awareness and appreciation is growing and the excellence of papermaking tradition is being rediscovered. More people are accepting the responsibility to carry on this invaluable legacy for next generations, opening a new era of Hanji." (History of Hanji, Fides International).

To learn more about Korean Hanji :
For more Web resources regarding Hanji paper, click here.

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