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Paper was invented by Cai Lun in 105 AD, which was one of the four great inventions by the Chinese. Cai Lun not only greatly improved the papermaking technique, but also made it possible to use a variety of materials, such as tree bark, hemp, rags, etc. The earliest paper discovered in Fufeng County, Shaanxi, was made from hemp during the Western Han (206 BC - 24 AD).

Bamboo paper was produced in the Tang Dynasty (608 - 907). Xuan paper made in Jing County, Anhui, is probably the best-known paper, which is mainly used in Chinese painting and calligraphy. Xuan paper is soft, smooth, white, absorbent and very durable.

Papermaking was introduced to Korea and Vietnam during the 3rd century and to the West around the 8th century. The first paper mill in Europe was built in 1009.

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