Today, in the village of Konigil near Samarkand, the Meros Paper Mill operates, the founders of which are the famous masters of the Mukhtarov brothers. Thanks to their efforts, the ancient tradition of making paper using ancient Samarkand technologies was revived at the local factory. Interestingly, all production is manual and each guest of the factory can personally observe the manufacture of paper.
The place is picturesque: shady trees, the Siab river, a small teahouse at the entrance, where tourists are treated to delicious Samarkand pilaf and fruits, Charhpalak is a water wheel decorated with ancient vessels from which water flows. The factory owners say that it took them 10 years to restore the manufacturing technology of Samarkand paper. Various materials were tried until it was experimentally established that the mulberry bark was the raw material for the paper.
The manufacturing technology of Samarkand paper is as follows. As a raw material, the bark of a mulberry tree is taken. The bark is peeled from the outside and cooked in a large tub for a long time. Then it is beaten in large stupas until it turns into a homogeneous mass in consistency similar to dough. Next, the resulting "dough" is placed in a tub of water, mixed and filtered with a special sieve.
The strained mass is pressed onto flazelin sheets. Then the paper is removed from the sheets and dried in an upright position for 1 day. The dried paper is strong enough. To remove roughness on paper, the craftsmen polish it on a marble table with a piece of marble or a bone horn, making Samarkand paper smooth.
It should be noted that Samarkand paper has a characteristic yellow tint. It is not specially bleached with chemicals, therefore, its shelf life is ten times longer than ordinary white paper. So, for example, if plain white paper of good quality lasts for 40-50 years, then Samarkand paper lasts 300-400 years. Here at the factory, Samarkand paper is made not only postcards, notebooks, masks, but even dresses, dolls and handbags. All these souvenirs can be bought in a factory shop.
Today, Samarkand paper from Konigil factory is widely used in the restoration of ancient manuscripts, both in Uzbekistan and in other countries of the world. Also, thanks to the restoration of production, Uzbek artists can reliably reproduce ancient miniatures.
Samarkand paper is gradually returning to its former glory both in Uzbekistan and abroad.
Traditional Papermaking Techniques Revealed!
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