is the name of traditional handmade paper from Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...
. Hanji is made from the inner bark of Paper Mulberry
The Paper Mulberry is a tree in the family Moraceae, native to eastern Asia. Other names include Dak, Halibun, Kalivon, Kozo, and Tapacloth tree.It is a deciduous tree growing to tall...
, a tree native to Korea that grows well on its rocky mountainsides, known in Korean as dak
. The formation aid crucial to making hanji is the mucilage that oozes from the roots of Hibiscus manihot. This substance helps suspend the individual fibers in water.
These methods are similar to those used in Japan to make washi
is a type of paper made in Japan. Washi is commonly made using fibers from the bark of the gampi tree, the mitsumata shrub , or the paper mulberry, but also can be made using bamboo, hemp, rice, and wheat...
but differ in sheet formation techniques (traditional hanji is made in laminated sheets using the we bal
method, which allows for multi-directional grain) and calendering (dochim
is a method of pounding finished sheets to compact fibers and lessen ink bleed).
In Korea, papermaking
Papermaking is the process of making paper, a substance which is used universally today for writing and packaging.In papermaking a dilute suspension of fibres in water is drained through a screen, so that a mat of randomly interwoven fibres is laid down. Water is removed from this mat of fibres by...
started not long after its birth in China. At first, made crudely out of hemp and ramie scraps (called maji , hanji developed to the point that it was renowned as the highest quality paper available in East Asia. Old Chinese books state that Korean paper was regarded as one of the best by Chinese scholars from the 900's on. Its origins in Korea are believed to fall somewhere between the 200's and the end of the 500's. In 1931, a piece of hanji was found at an archeological dig at a tomb site from the Lelang period (108 BCE-313 CE).
During the Three Kingdoms
The Three Kingdoms of Korea refer to the ancient Korean kingdoms of Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla, which dominated the Korean peninsula and parts of Manchuria for much of the 1st millennium...
period (57 BCE-668 CE), each kingdom used paper to record their official histories. In 610, a Korean Buddhist monk named Damjing
Damjing was a Korean Buddhist priest who imported the first paper to Japan from Goguryeo in Korea, around 610, where fibres from the mulberry tree were used. Because of this, Japan could advance a little faster and was able to keep track of history...
traveled to Japan and introduced papermaking methods, which indicates the level of development in Korean papermaking by the beginning of the 600's. The world’s oldest surviving wood block print is the Buddhist Dharani Sutra called the Pure Light Dharani Sutra . Listed as Korea's National Treasure No. 126, it was printed onto hanji c. 704 and is still in good condition, bearing the papermaker’s name. Paper crafts were also developed in the Three Kingdoms period, such as kites and other household items, and continued to flourish as hanji production increased.
Hanji’s golden age peaked in the Goryeo
The Goryeo Dynasty or Koryŏ was a Korean dynasty established in 918 by Emperor Taejo. Korea gets its name from this kingdom which came to be pronounced Korea. It united the Later Three Kingdoms in 936 and ruled most of the Korean peninsula until it was removed by the Joseon dynasty in 1392...
period (918-1392), which saw the rise in quality and use of hanji in conjunction with printmaking. Paper was used to make money, Buddhist texts, and medical and history books. The government encouraged dak cultivation and paper production, and dak was planted countrywide in the 1100's. Often called Goryeoji, hanji became famous in Asia for its strength and luster, and became a heavy trade item to China.
The Goryeo period is famous for two major landmarks in Korean printmaking and paper history. One was the carving of the Tripitaka Koreana
The Tripitaka Koreana or Palman Daejanggyeong is a Korean collection of the Tripitaka , carved onto 81,258 wooden printing blocks in the 13th century...
onto over 80,000 wooden blocks, which contain no errors and are still extant in their original home at Haeinsa
Haeinsa is a head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism in the Gaya Mountains , South Gyeongsang Province South Korea...
, a Buddhist temple in Gyeongsangnam-do
Gyeongsangnam-do is a province in the southeast of South Korea. The provincial capital is located at Changwon. It contains the major metropolitan center and port of Busan. Located there is UNESCO World Heritage Site Haeinsa, a Buddhist temple that houses the Tripitaka Koreana and attracts many...
. It was carved twice, due to its destruction by Mongol invasions in 1232; the final version was completed in 1251. The second accomplishment was the printing in 1377 of Jikji
Jikji is the abbreviated title of a Korean Buddhist document, whose title can be translated "Anthology of Great Buddhist Priests' Zen Teachings". Printed during the Goryeo Dynasty in 1377, it is the world's oldest extant movable metal print book...
, a guide for students of Buddhism, and the world’s oldest extant book printed using metal moveable type. Printed onto hanji, it is housed today in the National Library of France, and displays proof of movable metal type well before Gutenberg’s time.
The beginning of the Joseon
Joseon , was a Korean state founded by Taejo Yi Seong-gye that lasted for approximately five centuries. It was founded in the aftermath of the overthrow of the Goryeo at what is today the city of Kaesong. Early on, Korea was retitled and the capital was relocated to modern-day Seoul...
period (1392-1910) saw continued flourishing of the hanji industry as paper permeated daily lives of Koreans through books, household items, and popular items such as fans and tobacco pouches. From the start of the Joseon period in an effort to promote austerity, artificial flowers that had been made from wax and silk were replaced by paper versions. Later, paper flowers were also used to replace other versions for Buddhist rites and festivals.
Variations of hanji became common, such as colored paper, and paper made from mixed fibers including pine bark, rice straw, and bamboo. This came partly from a need to find new materials beyond dak due to the huge demand for books. The government created an administrative agency devoted to paper production, and also supplied troops with paper armor, which was waterproof, a good insulator, and provided protection against arrows and swords. Oiled hanji was used to make greenhouses c. 1450 because the paper could control temperature, humidity, and light effectively, the paper being made of natural materials. However, The Joseon government pressured Buddhist monks to increase their production of hanji that they were already making for Buddhist scriptures since the 15th century.
As the final blow to hanji, western methods of paper mass production were introduced in 1884.
Japanese colonial period
The Japanese colonial period
Korea was under Japanese rule as part of Japan's 35-year imperialist expansion . Japanese rule ended in 1945 shortly after the Japanese defeat in World War II....
(1910-1945) also undermined hanji manufacture as it suppressed Korean culture in general, and machine-made paper’s cheapness and wide availability undercut hanji dramatically.
In the 1970s, the New Village Movement
The New Community Movement, also known as the New Village Movement or Saemaeul Movement, was a political initiative launched on April 22, 1970 by South Korean president Park Chung Hee to modernize the rural South Korean economy...
that aimed to modernize Korea rapidly also led to further decimation of the hanji industry, as it eradicated traditional straw-thatched homes that used hanji to cover floors, walls, ceilings, windows, and doors. The most recent threat to the Korean paper industry is the rise of inexpensive paper made in China, where labor costs and overhead are significantly lower than in Korea.
As of 2009, twenty-six hanji mills remain operational in South Korea. They make hanji for artists, calligraphers, conservators, temples, and laypeople.
Hanji art and craft forms
There are two divisions of hanji art: two dimensional and three dimensional. Two-dimensional hanji art uses paper of various colors to create an image in a similar format as a painting, however the paper itself is folded and crumpled to make the image stick up from the paper it is adhered to, but the image itself is only a two-dimensional likeness, although there may be depth to some of the elements. Two-dimensional hanji art can be framed much like a painting. Three-dimensional hanji art is similar to paper mache, in that it can make sculptural objects that may stand unsupported.
Traditional hanji craft forms include jiho, jido, and jiseung. Jiho is a method that uses hanji scraps soaked in water and then added to glue, making a clay-like paste that can be molded into lidded bowls. Jido is the craft of pasting many layers of hanji onto a pre-made frame, which can be made into sewing baskets and trunks. Jiseung is a method of cording and weaving strips of hanji to make a wide array of household goods, including trays, baskets, mats, quivers, shoes, washbasins, and chamberpots.
- Korean art
Korean art is art originating or practiced in Korea or by Korean artists, from ancient times to today. Korea is noted for its artistic traditions in pottery, music, calligraphy, and other genres, often marked by the use of bold color, natural forms, and surface decoration.-Introduction:The earliest...
- Important Intangible Cultural Properties of Korea
- History of typography in East Asia
The history of printing in East Asia refers to the use of woodblock printing and movable type printing by East Asian artisans. The former existed in Tang China as early as the 7th century, and the latter in Song China by the 11th century. Use of woodblock printing quickly spread to other East Asian...