The variety of do paper in Buoi ward
Writing papers have been produced in Vietnam since the 3rd century. They were made from a type of fragrant tree bark called Coc Chi paper. This paper is very characteristic as it is tough, thin, slowly absorptive, fragrant, which makes the Chinese admiringly surprised. Old books recorded that in the 6th year of Taikang king (281), a Byzantine merchant bought 8,000 sheets in Jiaozhi as a present to King Tan.
In the 11th century (under the Ly dynasty), Do paper was advanced to a higher technical step. It is as good and famous as the Chinese paper. At that time, Ly ambassador used this paper as a tribute for King Tong.
The people living in Buoi in Thang Long have created a variety of papers with different functions, characteristics, and every type of paper is precious.
There are different types of Do paper in Buoi Ward. The best and most valuable types of papers are do lua paper, quy paper, lenh paper and sac paper.
Do lua paper is also called ban paper. The paper is thin as silk, specifically used for teachers and students to take their exams , copy poetry, scriptures and for artists, folk artists to paint, to write the calligraphy both beautifully and durably, which has created strong ethnic cultural identity. This paper has definitely been integrated into the Vietnamese society.
This product is mainly made thanks to the skillful and soft hands of female workers in Ho Khau – the most prosperous paper making villages in the region.
Quy paper: This paper is made from the bark which is used exclusively in Kieu Ki village, Dong Anh District, Ha Noi, outsourcing some stages of gold and silver. Then, it is sold to artisans who specialized in carving couplets, horizontal lacquered board, buddha statues and worshiping objects, turning them into the cultural products of high value and sacredness emanating from the splendid, shimmering silvery golden. The Nguyen family in An Dong village, Yen Thai ward was previously the only one to produce this type of paper.
Lenh paper: It is only used in the administrative work of the court. This paper is made from Do paper but it is thicker. The products are produced by the paper workers in Yen Thai ward.
Sac paper: This is the best and the most valuable one among those types of Do paper. This product is exclusively used for the king to confer title on courtiers who have contributed to the country, and the spiritual beings who have made some kind of achievements with sacred respect. This type of paper is characterized as: having huge size, being thick, tough, unable to being torn into pieces, waterproof, anti-termite, lasting for hundreds of years.
Sac paper has a wide variety of sizes. The widest paper size is 2m x 0.75 m and the smallest one is 1m3 x 0,52m. Dragons and phoenixes were painted depending on hierarchy; up to 4 dragons could be painted. This kind of product is a honor that Lord Trinh exclusively reserved for Lai family in Nghia Do to monopolize in producing certain quantities. Sac paper is produced specifically through some other stages such “nghe” paper (using wood pestle to pound the paper softly, lightly on a flat rock to make the paper tough). Then paint decoration is added with dragons and phoenixes patterns with gold-plated and covers with a layer of coptis teeta to make yellow color, finally cover with a layer of glue to make the paper tougher, which also has anti-moisture and anti-termite effects.
Do paper seemed various and glorious a while ago, but it had to face the wave of urbanization and industrialization, so the profession of paper-maker was removed in the Thang Long but it hasn’t ended its historic mission. Maybe the use of this paper doesn’t seem so important, but it is indispensable in folk art and to save the rare materials for keeps.