Time to shop

October 30, 2014

It is very difficult to buy good quality Chinese xuan paper and mounting silk in the UK. So whilst here in Nanjing I am off on a shopping expedition. Xuan paper is sold by the Chinese foot (bigger than the old English foot), and the usual sizes are 4, 5 and 6 feet. Even in China the 6 foot paper is becoming harder to buy and of course that is what I need. Hongxing or red star paper is the best but also the most expensive. The different quality of paper from the very thin mien lien paper to the thicker album leaf paper all have common characteristics of being white, soft and rolled in blanket like bundles. Each bundle has 100 sheets and the mark of quality is stamped in red on the sheet edge. Haggling over the price is expected and this can take some time; I find it exhausting and sometimes frustrating.


In mounting we tend to use two different kinds of silk: firstly, ling, which is patterned silk usually a phoenix and cloud design and secondly,  juan or a plain silk. The silk is so light that when flapped in the air it billows and is momentarily held up before gracefully floating down. As with the paper, good quality silk is becoming harder to source.


Of course I am lured by all the brushes and had to buy some of these.


3 comments so far, view or add yours


Hi Susan,
Ref: Backing scrolls in Penzance. they are turning out very well and today I collected the 1st on scroll bars. Thank you for your inspiration and teaching which enabeling it all.
Now I need to get more paper for the full print runs to be completed and replenish ‘training’ supply….your right about difficult to source in UK!
Can you please advise about the paper we used, as it seems difficult to
Know from searching the net. EG Blueheronarts has different dimensions for Xuan, doesn’t give the weight and is $40 + a sheet, before postal costs! Any advice welcomed.
What was weight(80g ish)
Is the Xuan seize

Hope all well your end Debbie


I have just been back to Nanjing to replenish our supply as we cannot afford to buy it off the internet for the same reasons as you have discovered-it is expensive. Not sure of the answer. The xuan paper you used was not sized and has a certain amount of bamboo and rice fibres in it. It is very difficult to get pure xuan these days.

Hello Susan,

I am living in the Netherlands and am passionate about Japanese and Chinese painting (long track record). Since my youth was captivated by the filosophy and arts. Now over 35 years of painting experience and the only non-native professional in Europe i saw by chance the tv program ‘Secrets at the museum’ while you were mounting some lange work and googled.
Found this blog about different topics.
I glue my works myself also, its always exciting to wet mount the artwork.
Materials are not to get in Europa, I get mine from Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Also have some very experienced mounters in my network. Would like to show you some of my works but no idea how to reach you. You can drop me an e mail if you like at: shodo70@hotmail.com
Hope to hear drom you soon. Would be nice to make contact with rofessional people of same interest.

Best regards,
A. Saleem
( I keep low profile, so no website unfortunately)

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