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Hanji: The World's Most Expensive and Longest Lasting Paper

Updated: Jan 22

Hanji: The World's Most Expensive and Longest Lasting Paper

"Hanji is the name of the handmade paper produced in ancient Korea from the 1st century BCE. Made from mulberry trees its exceptional quality made it a successful export, and it was widely used not only for writing but also interior walls and everyday objects such as fans and umbrellas. Hanji, famed throughout Asia for its whiteness, texture, and strength, is still made today in specialised Korean workshops.

Origins & Success

Paper was introduced to Korea from China at the time of the Chinese commandery at Lelang in the 1st century BCE. It was then manufactured throughout the subsequent Three Kingdoms Period. By the 7th century CE and the early years of the Unified Silla Period, the Koreans had mastered the art of manufacturing extremely fine quality paper. Korean-made inks were exported to the Tang Dynasty of China (618 – 906 CE), and such was the growing reputation of hanji that it too was exported to China during the Korean Goryeo Period (918-1392 CE). The Mongolian Yuan Dynasty (13th-14th century CE) were also particularly keen on it to print their Buddhist texts. Just as they had with celadon ceramics, the Koreans had outdone their tutors..." from the article: Hanji


This Ancient Paper Can Last 1000 Years. So Why Is It Disappearing? | So Expensive | Insider Business

Video from Business Insider


"Hanji is traditional Korean paper made by hand, one sheet at a time. Artisans turn the weblike fibers of paper-mulberry trees into paper that can last for thousands of years. The most expensive Hanji costs over $22 per sheet. But despite Hanji's quality, demand is in decline. And profits are dwindling for the few remaining workshops. 0:00 Intro 0:40 Cleaning mulberry fibers 1:43 Pulverizing fibers into pulp 2:08 Paper sheet forming 4:43 Drying sheets of Hanji 6:00 Declining demand Editor’s Note: Kim Serin also contributed to this story as a field producer and translator." from video introduction


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