History of Hanji
Visible Exhibition
History of Paper
Humans began recording when the letter was invented. Before the creation of paper, humans recorded on any materials by engraving the words. As the record accumulated, storage and transport, and supply of material lacked, so, more convenient medium to file was needed.
This led to the invention of paper. Humans faced substantial change when Chae Ryun, the official in China, developed paper using plant fiber as the primary raw material to record the King's command. He invented the now called lifting method from various experimentation and research.
After that, the technique was spread worldwide, including Southwest Asia and Europe toward the West, and toward the east, the paper creation method was spread from South Korea to Japan. Since then, inversely the paper mass production factory system and printing technique were developed and progressed in the West, so currently the existence of handmade paper is maintained by master craftsmen that still follows traditional creation method.
History of Hanji
Our paper Hanji was passed down through the generation from China since the 2nd century to the 7th century. The world's oldest "Great Dharani Sutra of Immaculate and Pure Light (Mugu jeonggwang dae daranigyeong) "was excavated in 1966 from Seokgatap at Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju.
From this, it is evident that Hanji can be sustained for thousands of years. Hanji culture most thrived during the Joseon Dynasty and the Koryo Dynasty era. During the Koryo Dynasty, our paper, which was called the "Koryo-Ji (Koryo paper)," was exported to China's Song Dynasty and has been historically recorded as high-quality paper. From the year 1145 (Injong 23) to 1188 (Myeongjong 18) during the Koryo Dynasty paper, manufacturing factories were established, indicating that handmade papers were actively being produced. From Joseon Dynasty, Joji-so (government office for paper production) was each installed in 1415 (Taejong 15) and 1466 (Sejong 12), resulting in developing hanji by managing the quality and quantity of paper within the country.
According to currently remaining sources, mostly Buddhist scriptures and Confucian scriptures could be examined. After all, it reveals the nation's ideology of Buddism during the Koryo Dynasty and policies were included to strengthen the country by spreading the Confucian ruling ideas during the Joseon Dynasty. Just like the nation's ideology, these historical records have been maintained with its ever-lasting lives for a thousand years.
Map of Paper History (paper road)
Scroll left and right to view other areas
Korea 2-4 century
Japan 610
China 105
India 15th century
Russia 1576
U.K 1494
Libya 1040
Morocco 1100
Spain 1151
Baghdad 793
Gemany 1390
France 1348
Netherlands 1586
U.S.A 1690
Canada 1803
Italy 1270
Chronological Table of Paper History
Time(year) Contents
Korea World
AD 105 The invention of paper by Che Ryun during the Han period in China
2~4century The introduction of Buddhism and papermaking technique to Korea
610 Koryo Buddhist monk Damjing introduced coloured paper to Japan.
704-751 Silla discovered the Great Dharani Sutra, the first woodblock printing technique.
Gyeongdeok of Silla 14
Silla Baekji Mukseodae Banggwang Fluoride Sutra. The great scripture.
751-757 During the battle of Dallas, paper manufacturing technique was introduced by the Tang prisoner - Saracen Samakantji.
793-795 The king of the Persians invited Chinese papermakers to pass down the papermaking technique - Baghdad, Iraq
960 Introduction of paper in Egypt
1040 Lybya
1100 Fez, Morocco
1151 Arab Muslims were the first in Europe to establish a paper manufacturing factory – Spain Valencia
1189 A prisoner of the Crusades learned the paper manufacturing skill in Turkey – France Herault
1270-1355 Italy Fabriano (1270), Germany Mainz (1320), Austria Vienna (1355)
U of Goryeo 3 years
Jikji – The oldest existing metal print book in the world.
1412 A papermaking place was installed (Jojiso)
1430 The king, Taejong, sent a person to Daemado island to bring back Japanese mulberry
1434 A wormwood stalk, barley straw, a bamboo sheath, stem of hemp, and mulberry are mixed at a ratio of 5:1 for the manufacturing.
Reign of King Seongjong
A paper armour was recorded in “Sejong Silok” as an armour that is easy to produce and effective in keeping cold. Later on, In the Hamgyeong-do border area, paper armours were provided to the soldiers for keeping them warm.
1464 Trial manufacturing after asking Chinese affairs for yellow paper production using epithelium of mulberry was conducted.
1466 The paper production place (Jojiso) was renamed as Jojiseo
1475 Head of paper manufacture, Park B, was sent to Beijing, China, to learn paper manufacturing techniques.
Reign of King Seongjong
Gyeongguk Daejeon, 85 Internal factory head, 692 external factory head
1492 John Tate began paper manufacturing business – the UK Stevenage
1428 Using the water power, handmaking paper factory was established – Netherlands Gennep
Reign of King Myeongjong
In preparation for the Manchurians' invasion, a strategic point was installed along the Tumen river, and paper clothing was transported to the soldiers.
1586 Paper factory using horses began – Netherlands Dordrecht
1532-1690 Sweden Moscow(1532), Russia Moscow(1576), Norway Oslo(1690), Mexico Culhuacan (1575)
1625 Jojiseo was destroyed due to the civil war, leading to reduced workers from 81 head of paper manufacturing to 4 and 60 bookkeepers to 5.
Reign of King Sukjong
When rinderpest (an infectious disease) spread, resulting in many cows' death, soldiers' hats were made by crossing strings made of paper.
1679 As ‘Daedongbeop’ (A law indicating the change of tax system – accepting rice as tax payment) come into effect in three southern provinces of Korea, paper money within the country decreased dramatically.
1690 Due to the influence of the Netherlands, the US constructed the first paper manufacturing factory – USA Philadelphia
1796 A serious warning was made in Korea's three southern provinces to encourage the population to cultivate bamboo trees.
1803 From the influence of a UK man, Canada’s first paper manufacturing factory was established – Canada St. Andrews
1807 The UK Fourdrinier brothers discovered the now called fourdrinier paper technology.
1809 Discovery of The cylinder machine by John Dickinson
1830 46 paper dealing market in all parts of the country
1882 Abolition of Jojiseo
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