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The paper has three layers: two thin pieces of paper are laminated to an innerlayer that is carved with a dragon motif. Light penetrates the paper to reveal the dragon pattern. At the lower right corner, an oblong vermilion seal reads, "Imperially manufactured Xuan paper with carved innerlayer from the Belvedere of Purity" (Yuzhi Chunhuaxuan kehua xuanzhi). The best Xuan paper is made from the fiber of mulberry bark. Other ingredients may include bamboo fiber, silk floss, hemp, and cotton.
The paper is smooth and fine. Manufactured in the Imperial Household Department (Neiwu fu), it is specially designed for imperial use. No record of the manufacturing process has been found. Reports of the precious paper among lower classes are rare.