Seminar – 3 June – Agnieszka Helman-Wazny

May 23rd, 2014 by


4.30 Tuesday 3 June in the Mond Building Seminar Room

Agnieszka Helman-Wazny

University of Arizona

Text and texture:  Buddhist Scriptures and Tibetan Papermaking Traditions in Light of New Discoveries


Tibetans established their own papermaking tradition and created a unique type of paper by using an individual ‘floating’ mould, which is placed on a water surface such as lake, pond, river, or puddle. The specificity of Tibetan papermaking lies in the properties of native plants, the living conditions of peoples dwelling on the world’s highest plateau, and aspects of Tibetan culture that together create a distinctive craft. The high altitude of the Tibetan Plateau and the extremes of its climate make the vegetation distinctive from all other areas of Asia.

This seminar will discuss the distinctive features of Tibetan papermaking technology and properties of Tibetan paper. The talk will be illustrated with examples from still extant papermaking workshops in Central Tibet and the results of the fibre analyses of recently collected papermaking plants and selected Tibetan books from the region. Among others under discussion will be paper identified in Puri Collection manuscripts (now preserved in Tibet University Library) dated as early as ninth century and paper in the earliest surviving xylograph book from Central Tibet dated to 1407 printed under the auspices of the scholar Bo dong phyogs las rnam rgyal (1376–1451).

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