workshop registration

Chinese Paper as Writing Support: Terminology and Standards

Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Hamburg
13 - 14 December 2018

Paper was invented in China, but today most of the local papermaking traditions are lost because of the turbulent history of the Chinese civilization. The materials and technologies used in China belong to the Asian tradition of making paper for books, money, home interiors and various art and purposes of daily use. Formerly, Chinese paper was made of a wide variety of both recycled rags and bast fibres of indigenous plants. Nowadays, some traditional papers are still available in the market; most of them are subdivided into various groups with different names usually adapted after their places of production. Despite being made from the same kind of plant fibres, Chinese papers can have different names. Additionally, manufacturers now often modify their products on an ad hoc basis to meet market needs. In effect the papers with the same name can be totally different products. This usually creates a good deal of confusion when trying to identify Chinese papers in cultural heritage objects or as material to be used. Chinese paper is highly appreciated by the West and widely used for conservation purposes.

While some of this knowledge may be lost forever, it is however still possible to reconstruct glimpses of the past from historical papers that are preserved in manuscripts and art objects. Every sheet of paper tells the story of its making, sometimes including also clues to its attribution, provenance, or ownership and often marks of its usage. Although the methodology employed in the investigation of any paper artefact often uses the same basic techniques and equipment, it cannot be emphasized enough that there is no formulaic approach to the investigation of individual papers. To such state of affairs, common lack of established terminology and research standards cause confusion among scholars of different disciplines. Thus, this workshop aims to open interdisciplinary discussion with the aim of defining ‘Chinese paper’ in the perspective of history, science and existing paper manuscripts and printed book collections preserved all around the world. The conference will be essential for all those who care for or use Chinese papers, whether as writing support or in books or art, in private or public hands. However, those interested in paper history, particularly the connection and transfer of knowledge between Asia and Europe, will also be attracted to the opportunity to learn from and meet respected scholars and experts in this area from China, Europe and America.

Program Committee:
Prof. Michael Friedrich
Agnieszka Helman-Ważny
Prof. Yang Yuliang
Prof. Yang Guanghui

Programme and Abtracts

Programme and Abstracts (updated 15.11.2018)


The workshop will be held at the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Warburgstraße 26, Hamburg, Germany. How to find us


Participation is free of charge and vistors are welcome. Please register below.
You may find the Hamburg Tourismus site useful for finding a suitable accommodation.
For more information please contact us.

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On which days will you attend the sessions?
Thursday, 13 December 2018
Friday, 14 December 2018

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