Koryo Paper Widely Known to the World

People in Koryo produced high-quality paper by carrying forward the long paper-making tradition of the Three Kingdoms (Koguryo, Paekje and Silla).

The general features of a variety of Koryo paper were whiteness, durability, smoothness, softness and freedom from fuzz and moth.

In those days, Koryo paper was widely known abroad for its excellent quality.

In particular, paekmunji (white paper for official documents), kyonji (highly durable paper) and achongji (dark blue paper) were exported to China during Koryo and feudal Joson dynasties and they were owned as necessities by aristocrats in that country.

“Korean bibliography” published in Paris, France, in 1894 gives a detailed description of the excellence of Koryo paper.

“All the paper used for Korean books, no matter which era it was from, is soft and tough, so even old books in fairly thin paper have endured for a very long time. It is demonstrated by the fact that Koryo books found in temples or European libraries are not at all tinted with yellow nor moth-eaten. It is not known when paper industry was established in Korea. However, paper must have been made in Korea from ancient times, which is strongly supported by the following facts ― nothing but paper was used for writing; books were already in wide circulation and there was a well-organized research institute in the ninth century; libraries were instituted in the next century (tenth century).

Invented by the resourcefulness and talent of our people, Koryo paper was renowned as the first on earth for its excellence.

Kim Kwang Jo, researcher at the Academy of Social Sciences