Dongba Paper Making

As the most original manual papermaking, Dongba Paper Making is devoted to be the Living Fossil among human manual papermaking. Driving from nature, it is the carrier of Dongba text, adding a veil of miracle.

Dongba paper, also named Baidi paper, used to record Dongba scripture and draw pictures for Naxi people, is a kind of rare ethnic handmade paper. Selected Yaohua which belongs to the specific alp wild rare plant in Lijiang as the main material, after dozens of processing by hand, Dongba Paper is the thickest among all the traditional Chinese handmade papers.


Created by Naxi minority in Tang Dynasty (618-907), Dongba Paper Making has a history of over 1,200 years, which had helped the Naxi people communicate with the Tibetans. Dongba Paper Making absorbed some skills from Central Plain paper making, and became an integrated creation due to the culture exchange.

About the Paper

It needs 4 day for Dongba Paper Making. Thus, weather has been a great element during the paper making. Meanwhile, because the material for making the paper has some certain kind of poison in it, the Dongba Paper is bug-proof.

Long Retention Time

Owing to the poison Yaohua, Dongba paper is insect-resisting and decay-resisting which is capable of lasting for thousand years, hence the saying millennial paper.


The material is from the local endemic tree abound with plant fiber, endowing the Dongba paper a strong toughness. Allegedly, Dongba paper was applied the early Buddhism scripture for it is hard to corrupt.

How to Make It

There are 6 steps for the process of Dongba Paper Making. Collect Yaohua and dried it; peel the skin and only leave the white inner skin; then stew the skin in the water until its being tender, which costs at least 8 hours; then rinse the boiled Yaohua for several days and squeeze it into the size of your fist.

Put the skin in a groove and hit it with heaven stone until it can disperse in water.

Put a frame with paper shade in water; pour the paper syrup on the frame and stir gently; take out the frame a few seconds after the paper syrup is poured; take the paper off the frame and place it at where the sunlight can reach; when the paper is half dry, put pressure on the paper until the paper is flat with out lines; when the paper is completely dry, a piece of Dongba paper is made.

Where to buy

As a unique handicraft, Dongba paper can be found easily in Lijiang Old Town. Tourists can buy it when visiting the Square Street.

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