Japanese and Chinese Calligraphy Paper: Material Diversity and Characteristics

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The Importance of Paper Selection and Materials

Paper selection is extremely important in calligraphy and painting. Quality paper smoothes the brush strokes, regulates ink absorption, and enhances the beauty of the writing or painting. Calligraphers and painters choose paper made of a variety of materials according to their purposes and preferences. Typical materials include kozo, straw, and bamboo, each with different softness, smoothness, and absorbency. Kozo paper, for example, has a firm surface and is suitable for clear lines in letters and paintings. Thus, depending on the characteristics of the material, the choice of paper has a great impact on the quality of the work.

Diversity of Japanese Calligraphy Paper

There are many different types of Japanese calligraphy paper. Typical examples include “high-quality paper,” “regular paper,” and “hard paper. Kyojokishi has a soft, smooth surface that soaks up ink well. Kai-sho-gami is easy to express the lines of letters clearly. Hard paper, on the other hand, has hardness and elasticity and supports brush strokes in writing and painting. The characteristics of Japanese calligraphy paper allow it to meet a variety of needs, making it an important tool for calligraphers.

Characteristics of Chinese Calligraphy Paper

Chinese calligraphy paper also varies widely. The most common are Xuan paper, Kozo paper, and Xuanzhou rice paper. Xuan paper has a smooth, soft surface and is suitable for beautifully rendering letters and paintings. Kozo paper is strong and durable, and can be used for a variety of techniques. Xuanzhou rice paper has dense fibers that prevent bleeding of ink. These characteristics make Chinese calligraphy paper of high quality and expressiveness, contributing to the development of the art of calligraphy.

Paper Processing and Treatment

Calligraphy paper is usually subjected to special processing and treatment. This process adjusts the paper’s texture and water absorbency, making it suitable for calligraphy and painting. The process of processing and treatment gives the paper a unique texture and feel that enriches the expressive power of calligraphy. This process allows paper to perform better as a medium for calligraphy and painting.

Cultural Value and Role of Paper

Paper is not only a material bearer, but also a bearer and inheritor of culture. In Eastern cultures such as China and Japan, paper has deep cultural connotations and has been an important foundation for artistic creations such as calligraphy, painting, and literature. Paper serves to record human wisdom and thought, and to witness the development and changes of civilization. Therefore, paper is an essential element in the transmission and development of culture, helping to pass on the techniques and styles of calligraphy and painting.


Paper is one of the most important inventions in the history of human civilization, and its importance is evident in the fields of calligraphy and painting. Understanding and attention to paper selection, materials, processing, preservation, and management directly affect the quality and sustainability of calligraphic works and paintings. Paper has also played an important role as a bearer of culture, supporting the artistic expression of calligraphy and painting. For this reason, further development and enhancement of the cultural value of paper are expected along with the evolution of manufacturing techniques and processing methods.

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