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Monday, 9 June 2014

Hanji Industry Service Center, Jeonju Wansan-gu, Northern Jeolla: Introduction to Hanji, Korean Handmade Paper

Hanji Industry Service Center (Hanja: 韓紙産業支援센터) in 20 Hyeonmu 1st Street/Hyeonmu 1-gil, GyeongWon-dong 3-ga 14-2 beonji, Jeonju Wansan-gu, Northern Jeolla Province is the first Hanji research institution of Korea which develops and promotes the culture and industry of Hanji in a comprehensive and systematic manner. 

It has experience, promotional and educational rooms as well as an exhibit hall. This center will play a pivotal role in preserving human history and culture by developing applied Hanji technology to the point where people around the world can live a happy and affluent life. Hanji has a 1,000 year of history. Based on that, Hanji Industry Service will contribute substantially to building a better world for the coming millennium. 

Korean paper or hanji is the name of traditional handmade paper from Korea. Hanji is made from the inner bark of Paper Mulberry, 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 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).

About 1,000 years ago during the era of the Silla dynasty, there was a buddhist temple named Daedongsa at Guksa cape of Seoam-ri, Bongsu-myeon, Uiryeong County, Southern Gyeongsang Province, governed by the head monk with a surname Seol. There were many paper mulberries grew naturally aroung this temple. (The term "Paper Mulberry" was appeared on a local specialities list of Uiryeong town from Dongguk Yeoji Seungnam).
The head monk made a cane out of the paper mulberry. One day the monk sat on a rock in front of the temple and hit his cane against rock to escape boredom, and return to the temple leaving the cane behind. When the monk returned to look for his forgotten cane on following day, he saw a bark of tree formed a thin film sticking on a rock. The monk purposely peeled off a bark from the paper mulberry, trampled with stone and layed on a rock to see what will happen. On the following day, the monk returned to see what happened and discovered the bark got dried and form a thin film sticking on a rock.
The monk borrowed idea from this discovery and developed to event the Hanji. Due to this legend, people from Uiryeong still believe that Hanji manufacturing has originated from Uiryeong. There is a Guksa cape still exists in Uiryeong but, Daedongsa temple.

Hanji is a valuable material closely connected with Korean nation and used to referred as one of the four precious things of the study. Hanji has taken very important role in life of Korean nation and still remains in existence and introduces the excellence of Hanji to the whole world.

In human society, it is no exaggeration to say that development of culture are resulted by paper. Korea's originated paper, Hanji was introduced to neighboring countries and called as "Dak Jong-i" in Korean language by its main ingredient being "Dak" (paper mulberry).

There is no clear historical record of the initial Hanji production in Korea, but the paper discovered from Bangmatan ancient tomb in China that made in the second century BCE, and suppose the paper production technology was transferred aroung this time.

Since then, in 105 CE during the lather Han dynasty when Cai Lun improved paper, Korea also produced paper through own creative technology improvement. High quality white and fine papers were already exported to China during Silla Dynasty. As handcrafts being specialized and, technologies of printing and paper manufacturing being advanced in Goryeo dynasty, better quality papers were exported.

Especially, with Korea's own unique lifting method using single screen different than China's filtered lifting method, whither and shiny strong papers were produced and exported and China and other neighboring countries.

Hanji has called in different names as per time, color and origin. The most popular classifications are material, method, purpose and size, and there about 200 different types according to these classifications.

Mainly Hanji has used for the purpose of painting and writing, and also applied to household goods as well as art that expresses decorative beauty by creatively advancing various crafts technic from day to day life.