The ancient art of silk paper production has been revived in Uzbekistan
The ancient art of silk paper production has been revived in Uzbekistan. The operation is done at a paper mill in the Konigil village near Samarkand. Due to efforts of local craftsmen, a unique tradition of making Samarkand paper has been recreated based on old technologies, which dates back several thousand years. The Samarkand silk paper is famous for its strength and durability which is not cheap because of the time spent on producing it.
KHABIBA PULATOVA, FACTORY STAFF:
- We make the Samarkand silk paper from the peel of one-year-old mulberry tree branches. We do not cut the mulberry tree, we soak only yearling branches. After cleaning, it turns into this colour and becomes very hard. It does not break, and when we do like this, fibres can be seen. In order to soften it, we boil it for 4-5 hours.
The peel is beaten until it turns into a homogeneous mass. Then it is placed in a tub with water, mixed and filtered. The resulting mass is pressed into flizelin sheets. The paper is removed from the sheets and dried for a day. Then masters polish it and the paper becomes smooth.
ZARIF MUKHTAROV, FACTORY OWNER:
- In 1998, we had the first paper sample. We started working and experimenting at home to install technology and find our own method. The mulberry peel has very long fibres. Therefore, they are intertwined, strong and durable. Eyes do not get tired when reading a paper made of silk, because there is no contrast. There is a bright contrast to the white paper.
The factory produces 100-150 paper sheets per day. The entire manufacturing process is manual. Books and decorative dresses are made of the silk paper. Unlike the ordinary paper, the silk paper can be kept for up to 2,000 years.