Fashion designer Wang Hua was so talkative when mentioning the Miao ethnic group’s traditional method of papermaking while in Shiqiao Village of Danzhai County, Guizhou Province.
Wang had just returned to Beijing from Shiqiao Village.
She said that her goal is to attract competent enterprises to develop Shiqiao Village into a world-class tourist destination and introduce the Miao ethnic group’s traditional method of papermaking to the world.
Although Wang was not familiar with the traditional Miao method of papermaking until less than a year ago, she has thereafter moved back and forth several times between Beijing and Guiyang, the capital city of Guizhou Province.
Despite the bumpy, tough trip between Guiyang and Shiqiao Village due to the construction of an expressway leading to Danzhai, Wang has remained as passionate as she was before.
According to the evaluation of experts, white paper production skills originated from southwestern China and the papermaking styles of the Tang Dynasty have been well preserved. The forefathers of the Miao people in Shiqiao Village learned the Han ethnic group’s papermaking skills and utilized local abundant fir trees and other raw materials to make paper. The traditional papermaking process is generally identical to the diagrams recorded in the book “Exploitation of the Works of Nature” written by Song Yingxing in the Ming Dynasty.
The white paper made by villagers at the Shiqiao Miao Village is flexible, smooth and durable, and is one type of the paper used by painters for traditional Chinese paintings.
Related data shows that there are 10 outdoors cooking utensils, 10 soaking pools, 36 papermaking workshops, 34 wood pressing tools, 40 papermaking tanks, three wooden pestles and five stone pestles in Shiqiao Village, which is one of the places in China with the best-preserved traditional papermaking process and tools, as well as a relatively large-scale traditional papermaking site. The village was included into the national intangible cultural heritage protection list in 2006.
Experts said that the trait of this type of papermaking is primitive and pollution-free. Although Shiqiao Village is famous for papermaking, a river crossing the village is still crystal clear.
“This traditional way of papermaking is so unique,” said Wang, “I have invited some papermaking craftsmen to Beijing to display the papermaking process, and plan to use birdcages from Kala Village of Daizhai County and traditional paper to make lanterns to auction off for charity.
Long Xianjin, head of Daizhai County, told reporters that the traditional way of papermaking in Shiqiao Miao Village has attracted many domestic and foreign tourists. Shiqiao has already established a papermaking association and two papermaking cooperatives, and over 30 local households specialize in making handmade paper.
Wang Xingwu, a villager of Shiqiao Village and successor of 18 generations of papermaking skills, has established a papermaking cooperative and a Miao-style hotel. He earns more than 600,000 yuan a year and has become one of the richest papermaking households there.
Long said, “Shiqiao Village has inadequate capacity to accommodate tourists, so we are formulating a plan for tourism development and cultural protection.”