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Egyptian papyrus painting ancient art plant
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Egyptian papyrus painting ancient art plant:
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Egyptian Papyrus was very important to the ancient Egyptians. It helped transform Egyptian society in many ways. Once the technology of papyrus making was developed, its method of production was kept secret allowing the Egyptians to have a monopoly on it. The first use of papyrus paper is believed to have been 4000 BC.

The raw material of papyrus paper comes from the plant Cyprus papyrus. This plant grew along the banks of the Nile and provided the Egyptians with the necessary raw materials. This plant was quite versatile and was not only used in the production of paper but it was also used in the manufacture of boats, rope and baskets. However, the singularly most important and valuable product was the papyrus paper. Not only was this ancient Egypt’s greatest export but it revolutionized the way people kept valuable information. No substitution for papyrus paper could be found that was as durable and lightweight until the development of pulped paper by the Arabs. The way of making pulp paper was far easier to produce but not as durable. This not only led to a decline in papyrus paper making, but also to a decline in the papyrus plant cultivation. Eventually, the papyrus plant disappeared from the area of the Nile, where it was once the lifeblood for ancient Egypt.

Papyrus making was not revived until around 1969. An Egyptian scientist named Dr. Hassan Ragab reintroduced the papyrus plant to Egypt and started a papyrus plantation near Cairo. He also had to research the method of production. Because the exact methods for making papyrus paper was such a secret, the ancient Egyptians left no written records as to the manufacturing process. Dr. Ragab finally figured out how it was done, and now papyrus making is back in Egypt after a very long absence.

The Method of Papyrus Paper Production

  1. The stalks of the papyrus plant are harvested.

  2. Next the green skin of the stalk is removed and the inner pith is taken out and cut into long strips. The strips are then pounded and soaked in water for 3 days until pliable.

  3. The strips are then cut to the length desired and laid horizontally on a cotton sheet overlapping about 1 millimeter. Other strips are laid vertically over the horizontal strips resulting in the criss-cross pattern in papyrus paper. Another cotton sheet is placed on top.

  4. The sheet is put in a press and squeezed together, with the cotton sheets being replaced until all the moisture is removed.

  5. Finally, all the strips are pressed together forming a single sheet of papyrus paper.

    (Original text from emuseum/prehistory/e gypt/dailylife/papyrus.html

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