Samarkand – Silk Paper Factory
March 7, 2011 Leave a comment
In Samarkand, there are two very interesting industries – a small workshop for manufacturing silk paper and a carpet factory.
Silk paper was used until the invention of a cheaper kind of paper made from cellulose. The manufacturing – to date- is still done manually, thus making the paper more expensive and its mainly used for decorative purposes.
Therefore, it starts with a branch from a mulberry tree (the same tree whose leaves are eaten by silkworms, which in turn excrete silk) whose bark and the upper dark layer are removed.
The bark is then boiled for long in vats to make it soft.
The softened bark is then squashed in mortars to give it a porridge-like state.
The mechanism is operated using a big shaft that is propelled by flowing water in a creek. Can you see the wheel at the extreme end? It is halfway sunk under water. Moreover, lubrication is also done by water. The long, thin beam before the main shaft is a trough for water. It lubrictes wooden parts that rub against each other.
The “porridge” from the bark is dissolved in a big tub with water,then its separated using a sieve.
As a result, on the sieve we will have a thin layer of our future paper.
While still wet it is shaken off the sieve.
Such pieces are then smoothened and put under pressure for several days.
This is how the paper comes out after pressing. Right now its very rough. That is why it is polished.
It is polished using a big sea-shell.
The amount of work is not so big. From this crafts are made then books are printed on them. It is said that this kind of paper lasts 200 years longer than ordinary paper.