Black and white photograph showing a man at a paper slurry tray drawing up the paper onto a bamboo frame. The man stands in a pit which allows him to work more easily and wears a protective work apron. Behind him are piles of finished paper.
This photograph is one of a series of photographs taken by Hedda Morrison that document the traditional process of making a coarse paper known as 'tuzhi'. This image appeared in a 1949 article in the Canadian Geographic Journal titled 'Making books in China' (39: 234-45). Of the image, Hedda wrote: 'The pulp is placed in a tank where it is vigorously stirred and kept in solution. The paper maker stands behind the tank and works with two articles of equipment only. Immediately in front of him is a wooden framework which rests on blocks just above the level of the pulp. Another piece of equipment is a very fine flexible bamboo grid. This is dipped into the solution and removed with particles of pulp adhering to it. Placed on top of the wooden framework the water drains away and pulp can be tipped off in the form of three separate sheets of paper. This is achieved by leaving in the fine grid two strips which are too coarse to pick up the pulp. Behind the worker can be seen piles of prepared paper. The paper makers work in cold unheated sheds and it is bitter work during the winter months'.
This is one of a large number of photographs documenting local crafts taken by Hedda Morrison (1908-1991) during her years of residence in Peking (Beijing), China 1933-1946.
Exhibited in 'Peking: 1933-1946 - A photographic impression', Menzies Library, Australian National University, 17-30 June 1967. Reproduced in Hedda Morrison, 'A photographer in Old Peking', Hong Kong, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1985, p. 202, with the caption: 'Paper making by the traditional method, similar to that used when the process was first invented in China. The difference was that the raw material was ground up rags and recycled paper and the end product a very coarse one. The raw material was ground up and reduced to slurry from which sheets of paper particles were dipped out on a bamboo frame'.
Gift of Mr Alastair Morrison, 1992