Mulberry paper, Tapa (paper) mulberry paper and Ma paper
Q: Similar paper is described in your stores as Tapa/Paper mulberry paper(构树/ 構樹), but it is called Mulberry paper (桑树/桑樹) by other sellers. How different?
A: We do not explain other sellers’ answers, however, basing our acknowledge and researching, in the current market, all of them should be stated as Tapa (paper) mulberry paper, whatever, produced in Taiwan or China mainland.
Tapa mulberry, or paper mulberry, belongs to mulberry family, and wildly planted in China mainland and Taiwan for its economic value and easy fast growth. Tapa/Paper mulberry trees can be harvested in one years. Their bark is high grade paper making materials. The leaves are widely used as animal fodder. The seeds, roots and liquid of trunk can be used in medicine.
Paper industry depends on local agriculture and forestry producing. In current market, Tapa/Paper mulberry is the most accessible materials in China. We have read so many news and article papers about in Puli town, Nantou county, Taiwan (台湾南投埔里) utilizing Tapa/Paper mulberry for producing high end papers. In Taiwan Tapa/Paper mulberries trees are called 鹿仔樹或鹿兒樹. In China mainland, they are called 构桃树、楮树、楮实子、楮树、沙纸树、谷木 、假杨梅.
On the other hand, 90% of silk in Taiwan comes from China Mainland, thus silk produce is not popular in Taiwan, so mulberry trees are not wildly planted there.
Ma papers are very different in each part of China, but one common trend in China mainland and Taiwan is to make Tapa/Paper mulberry bark as the substitutes of ramie fibers because of the scarcity and price.
China is a large country. Due to the dramatic difference of the producing methods in each geographic region, Ma paper in Taiwan is white and thick; in Gansu, it is brown and thin; in Sichuan, it can be yellow, brown or white; in Jing County, it is gray-white, etc. These varieties are caused by the traditional production methods are different, even if the main materials are the same.
Therefore, in current market, almost all “mulberry papers” should be called Tapa/Paper mulberry paper, and the Ma paper can be considered as a type of Tapa/Paper mulberry paper.
To say frankly, sumiestore.com customers’ prudential observing and thinking sometimes surprises me. This kind of customers are highly welcomed and appreciated. As a Sumi-e art supplier or a Sumi-e artist, learning and exploring is endless, because the economic environment, the market and the users’ habits are changing. Everything now is so different from the ancient book sited in the library. Sumi-e is art, but Sumi-e supplying is about engineering and economics.