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The Legacy Press

 

Books about the Printing, Paper, and Bookbinding Arts

 

Elaine Koretsky’s accumulation of information about visiting hand-papermaking sites in China is an incomparable accomplishment, the hard-won results of punishing travel under complicated conditions….  —Nancy N. Tomasco

 

[T]his book may provide some of the only Western records of these villages and methods of creating handmade paper. The book does show the determination and unquenchable interest the author has with papermaking and its traditions. As such, it is an important addition to any hand papermaking library.  —Jana Pullman

 

Killing Green: An Account of Hand Papermaking in China

 

Elaine Koretsky

The invention of paper in China more than 2,000 years ago was a wondrous discovery. Worn out fish-nets, hemp rags, and rope were soaked, beaten to a pulp, and then the watery mass was poured onto a cloth stretched over a wooden frame. On its surface, a web of fibers coalesced. After drying in the sun, the sheet of paper was gently pulled from the cloth. Although many uses for paper were discovered, the most important was as a superb writing surface.

Over a millennium, papermaking spread throughout China, then east to Korea and Japan, and finally west along the Silk Road to the rest of the world. The materials, tools, and techniques changed according to what was available in particular locations.

A few scholars have written about hand papermaking in China, but none has been as thorough as Elaine Koretsky. Her remarkable journeys have taken her from the Taklimakan and Gobi Deserts to the Himalayas. Over the course of eighteen field expeditions, she has located forty-two, often remote villages that represent unbroken traditions of papermaking by hand. She interviewed the papermakers, recorded their histories, and documented their processes in both film and digital formats, and in print. Enlightening as well as entertaining, Killing Green chronicles many of the trips that Elaine has made to China over more than a quarter of a century.

217 pages  •  cloth, sewn  •  85 color and b&w photographs/maps  •  2009

 

ISBN: 9780979797415  •  $35.00

Reviews

Nancy N. Tomasco: "Elaine Koretsky’s accumulation of information about visiting hand-papermaking sites in China is an incomparable accomplishment, the hard-won results of punishing travel under complicated conditions that sometimes was confounded by the very guides she hired. Surely few would – as the Koretskys [Elaine and Sidney] have done repeatedly – risk arrest for traveling in areas not yet open to tourists, camp for days on rocky Tibetan terrain, wait for hours for roads to be cleared of landslides, and rise very early for consecutive days on the road to follow up on an elusive tip about the existence of a papermaking village.…We can be grateful that Elaine Koretsky has added a valuable chapter to the history of hand papermaking in China.” Excerpted with permission from Hand Papermaking 25, no. 2 (Winter 2010): 39–41. © 2010 by Hand Papermaking, Inc. (www.handpapermaking.org). All rights reserved.

 

Jana Pullman: "Much has been written on papermaking in China but this book gives a unique perspective on the craft and the people, representing an unbroken tradition of papermaking by hand. As she traveled across the country accompanied by her husband Sidney and various guides, the author interviewed papermakers and recorded their histories and processes. She also describes the trips, giving us insight into the difficulties and rewards of her travels including tales of being arrested for visiting a paper-making site without the proper permission and of being smuggled across the Chinese border into Burma.…One can easily believe much has changed in the last few years in many of the villages described in this book. In fact, this book may provide some of the only Western records of these villages and methods of creating handmade paper. The book does show the determination and unquenchable interest the author has with papermaking and its traditions. As such, it is an important addition to any hand papermaking library.” Bonefolder 6, no. 2 (Spring 2010): 61. http://www.philobiblon.com/bonefolder/vol6no2contents.htm