Nepal paper is manufactured almost exclusively in Nepal from the bamboo. After being cut, it is beaten in wooden mortars until reduced to a pulpy mass, then thrown into a vat of water, the impurities separated, and when of a proper con sistence, it is spread on linen to be dried; the surface is rendered smooth by friction, and with a pebble on boards. Its structure is very tough, i and cannot be torn rectilineally, and it is most serviceable for filtration, as the fibres do not separate readily when saturated with moisture, and will resist in a moist condition considerable rough handling.
The Nepal paper plant is the Daphne one of the Thymalacm. At the Great Exhibition of 1851, many visitors were much interested about a huge sheet of Nepal paper exhibited by Colonel Sykes. Mr. Hodgson (Journ. As. Soc. i. p. 8, 1832) and Dr. Campbell describe the process of making paper from the Daphne cannabina as con sisting, first, in boiling slips of the inner bark of the paper plant in a Icy of wood-ashes for about half an hour, by which time the slips will be quite soft. These are then beaten in a stone mortar with a wooden mallet till they are reduced to a homogeneous pulp. This is then diffused through water, and taken up in sieves and paper frames, as in the ordinary process for making paper by hand. When dry, the sheet of paper is folded up; sometimes it is smoothed and polished by being rubbed on wood with the convex side of a thank shell. Though called Nepalese, the paper is not manufactured in Nepal, but in Cis-Hima layan Bhot, in the midst of its immense forests, where there is an abundant supply of the plant, of wood for ashes and for firewood, as well as a constant supply of clean water. This paper is re markable for its toughness, as well as its smooth ness. Some of it, in the form of bricks of half stuff, was sent to England previous to the year 1829. As the quantity sent was not sufficient for a complete experiment, a small portion of it was made into paper by hand. An engraver, to whom it was given for trial, stated that it affords finer impressions than any English-made paper, and nearly as good as the fine Chinese paper which is employed for what are called India paper proper' (Gleanings in Science, i. p. 210). Dr. Campbell describes the paper made by the hand as strong and durable as leather crust, and quite smooth enough to write on, and, for office records, incomparably better than any Indian paper. Many of the books in Nepal, written on
this paper, are said to be of considerable age, and the art of making paper seems to have been introduced about 500 years ago from China, and not from India.' Colonel Ramsay, Resident at the court of Nepal, describes the daphne as a small evergreen perennial shrub, somewhat like a laurel, which bears poisonous berries. There are several species of it in Nepal, from all of which, he was told, paper is made. In some kinds the flowers are pure white, in others dirty white, tinged with pink or purple. There is an impres sion in the plains of India that the Nepal paper is prepared with arsenic. This, he says, is quite a mistake, for arsenic is not allowed to be sold here, nor any other virulent poison, under a heavy penalty. The whole tribe of p]antsbcaring the name of daphne are more or less poisonous, but the daphne paper cannot retain the poisonous quality of the plant, as rats and insects often eat it with apparent avidity. This unsightly paper is tough when kept dry, and can be used like cloth for wrapping up dry substances in, and it can be used after having been saturated with water, pro vided it be carefully dried within a reasonable time after it has been wetted. One sheet in the Museum of the Bengal As. Society measured 50 feet by 25 feet.
The Burmese make a coarse paper from the bark of a large creeper found in the forests. The paper is thick, like pasteboard, and the sur face• is blackened, and written upon with a steatite pencil.
In British India, the process of paper-making appears to be very much the same throughout. The materials—gunny, old rags, waste-paper, or fibre, as the case may be—are cut up into small pieces, well soaked, and then pounded in a cistern or well, floored with chunam or stone, the pound ing instrument being shod with iron, and in some .cases worked like a pe-cottah. The pulp is then washed and sprinkled with lime-water, and left to stand for periods varying from three days to a week. This process is renewed two or three times. The pulp is then taken up on frames fitted with strainers, and dried.