Illustration of Paper

105 Paper

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Cai Lun manufacturing Illustration of Paper


The English word for paper is from the Egyptian paparus which served the same purpose as paper, but not as light, durable, or flexible. The Chinese word for paper, zhĭ, means “silk from plant fibers.” Cai Lun introduced paper and papermaking to replace tablets of bone or bamboo, which were heavy, and silk, which was expensive. He taught how to separate, in water, fibers from hemp, rags, and the inner bark of mulberry trees and to pour this through a woven cloth to leave a thin mat of fibers to be pressed and dried.

The magic of paper

Because of paper literacy and literature in China blossomed. In medieval Europe scholasticism and the reformation.

Paper moon

Paper kite Paper crane Paper moon

“I shall write peace upon your wings, and you shall fly around the world so that children will no longer have to die this way.” —credited to Sadako Sasaki, who died from the effects of the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima

“Say, it’s only a paper moon / Sailing over a cardboard sea / But it wouldn’t be make-believe / If you believed in me.” —E. Y. Harburg and Billy Rose

See also in The book of science:

Readings in wikipedia: