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White Powder-Wax Paper with Gold Pine, Bamboo, and Plum Blossom Design

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Period: Qianlong reign (1736–1795), Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Dimensions: Length: 96.3 cm; width: 193.2 cm

This paper (fenlajian) is made with powder (fen) and wax (la). White in color with a smooth gloss, the paper is elegantly decorated with painted with pine, bamboo, and plum blossom designs in gold. The reverse has also been pressed, waxed, and generously speckled with gold in a characteristic court style.

The production of waxed paper began in the Song dynasty (960–1279) and continued into the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). The refined paper was made with powdering and glazing techniques; its thick texture indicates that it was formed from multiple layers.

The pristine piece of writing paper was never used. Originally packaged with five sheets in one roll, the paper was wrapped in bright yellow paper decorated with the Chinese character for 'longevity' (shou). The brilliant color indicates it was a special paper product made by manufacturers in a certain locale according to court stipulations for presentation as a tribute.

Website version edited by Adam J. Ensign and Zhuang Ying

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