China Daily (Canada) - - TIBET -

in the vil­lage’s pa­per­mak­ing work­shop — two are Tser­ing Tob­gyal’s sons and the rest are their staff and ap­pren­tices.

The pro­duc­tion of Tibetan pa­per mainly uses one ma­te­rial — the root of a lo­cal poi­sonous plant known as re­jak.

The plant is col­lected from the moun­tain and its roots smashed to re­move the in­ner core.

Af­ter this, the root is peeled and boiled for three hours to re­move the im­pu­ri­ties, be­fore be­ing ground on flat rock for 30 min­utes.

The pulp that re­sults is churned in a big basin, passed through a fil­ter and dried.

Tser­ing Tob­gyal said in the past, the pa­per was used to

Kalzang Ten­zin said he wanted to pass on the craft to his own sons, and he hopes to ex­pand the work­shop in fu­ture by en­rolling more stu­dents.

Apart from tourism, or­ders also come in from some Tibetan monas­ter­ies, which have be­come the work­shop’s main source of in­come.

Two years ago, Ti­bet’s Tashil­hunpo Monastery signed a con­tract call­ing for 600 pages of blue-col­ored scrip­ture pa­per per month, which is pro­duced us­ing dif­fer­ent pro­ce­dures and ma­te­ri­als to or­di­nary Tibetan pa­per.

Kalzang Ten­zin said the blue color is made us­ing a min­eral pig­ment, which comes from a kind of lo­cal plant mixed with sheep’s brain.

Xiao Yin, a Chi­nese poet, said he had vis­ited the work­shop in 2013.

“My friends told me it was the best Tibetan pa­per, and I was im­pressed by the pro­duc­ing pro­ce­dures,” said the 47-year-old.

“It is dif­fer­ent from other kinds of pa­per pro­duc­tion in other parts of the coun­try, putting the stress on the se­lec­tion of raw ma­te­ri­als and the skills used in pro­duc­tion.”

Xiao said at first he had wanted to write his po­ems on the Tibetan pa­per, but an artist friend sug­gested to paint Chi­nese wa­ter­col­ors on it in­stead.

“It has stronger wa­t­er­ab­sorb­ing abil­i­ties, and it is en­riched with dec­o­ra­tive ef­fec­tive­ness,” said Meng Fan­hua, an artist known for paint­ing wild yaks in Ti­bet. He has been us­ing the pa­per to write cal­lig­ra­phy for many years.

Col­lect­ing the raw ma­te­rial for Tibetan pa­per is risky work, as the plants grow high up on moun­tains and cliffs.

To lessen their im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment, Tser­ing Tob­gyal’s fam­ily has been try­ing to cul­ti­vate the plant in a field for two years.

“Since an­cient times, Ti­betans have be­lieved ex­ces­sive col­lec­tion of the plant would bring bad weather such as hail­stones,” Tser­ing Tob­gyal said.

“I am not sure if this project will be suc­cess­ful, I hope re­searchers and sci­en­tists will sup­port us one day with a sci­en­tific way of cul­ti­va­tion.”

Con­tact the writ­ers at palden_ nyima@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Tser­ing Tob­gyal and his two sons dis­play a spe­cial Tibetan scrip­ture pa­per, which was or­dered by Tashil­hunpo Monastery at their work­shop in Nyemo county, Ti­bet au­ton­o­mous re­gion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.