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Subject: Conservation of pith paper

Conservation of pith paper

From: Madhavi Singh <dharohar>
Date: Thursday, March 16, 2000
Julia M. Landry <j.landry [at] ns__sympatico__ca> writes

>Does anyone have any experience working with Chinese pith paper,
>often mistakenly called rice paper.  I'd be interested to receive
>any information on its physical properties, etc.

We have restored seven such paintings and a scroll, yes you are
absolutely right that often it is identified (of course  mistakenly)
by silk or rice paper because it is not a very popular media of
painting in a region specific. Incidentally pith is widely used for
decorating goddess Durga icons in the eastern India.

The fact about the pith are: It is the soft core of the stem of a
plant which grows inside the water. Its diameters are in a tune of
1-1.5 inch with outer layer of the skin is brown. What they do to
make paper out of it is they make fine slice of the stem with a
sharp knife in lengthwise direction and make rectangular pieces of
the white core. By joining these pieces they make pith paper. It is
very hygroscopic in nature and expand to a great extent when gets
moisture and it is very soft, brittle and weak in nature. Easily
gets dent and also prone to insect attack.

Madhavi Singh
Dharohar, Art Conservation Centre
Lucknow, India

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:48
                  Distributed: Friday, March 24, 2000
                       Message Id: cdl-13-48-010
Received on Thursday, 16 March, 2000

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