Small companions all know that papermaking is one of the four great creations in ancient China, but do you know why plants can be used for papermaking? What kinds of plants can be used for paper making? Let's understand with Jinan Printing Factory.
What makes paper? In fact, the principle of papermaking is very simple, that is, the use of intertwining between fibers to aggregate pasty plant materials into thin sheets.
Plant fiber is a very special and important type of thick-walled tissue cells in plants. It is usually long and narrow in shape, with thin ends. Most of them are dead cells. It has the function of mechanical support for plant growth, making the plant resist pressure, tension, flexure, erect stems, flattening branches and leaves, etc. The meaning of "thick-walled tissue" is that the cell walls of these cells are significantly thicker, sometimes so thick that there is only one gap left in the cell lumen. They are ubiquitous in various parts of plant mature bodies and always gather together to form what we commonly call "fiber bundles".
The so-called "unity is strength", a single fibrous cell is very small, but after closely separated into vascular bundles, the tear resistance can be greatly strengthened, and the elasticity is also higher. This unique "personality" of cells is the cornerstone of human paper creation. When the pulp is picked up with bamboo curtain and numerous fibre bundles are intertwined irregularly and tangled unclearly, the paper's initial appearance, paper film, is formed.
Bamboo is one of the most commonly used plant materials for paper making in Ming Dynasty. Bamboo is a general term for the subfamily Bambusoideae of Gramineae. Gramineae is a super family in the botanical world. It has the closest relationship with human beings. We almost come into contact with the members of Gramineae family every day, such as wheat, rice, corn, sorghum and so on.
At present, there are about 88 genera and 1400 species of Bambusoideae known. They are scattered in Asia, America, the Andean Islands, northern Australia and Africa. Madagascar, Central America and North America are the most abundant bamboos. There are no wild bamboos in Europe except cultivated bamboos. There are about 34 genera and 530 species of bamboo in China, which are naturally distributed in the Yangtze River Basin and its southern regions. A few species can extend northward to the Qinling, Hanshui and Yellow River basins.
In fact, if the definition of "paper" is extended, the time for Chinese people to use bamboo as a carrier of writing is much earlier than the Tang Dynasty when bamboo paper began to flourish. In ancient costume dramas about the history of the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period to the Qin and Han Dynasties, we often see that the ancients at that time were reading and writing with a heavy roll of "bamboo slips of paper" tied together with string, which is bamboo slips. There are also "paper" made of wood chips, called wooden slips. Do you know? Bamboo slips and wooden slips, known as bamboo slips and wooden slips, were the most commonly used carrier of writing before the real paper was improved.
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