Making papyrus for writing dates back to years Before Christ and as a result of the number of papyrus writings in existence the history and life of Egypt is better recorded than my own English history years after the birth of Christ. The papyrus above was seen in the Cairo Egyptian Museum but the tradition is kept alive today.
At the Merit Papyrus Institute (also in Cairo) papyrus is made in the traditional way and proudly demonstrated to us. Firstly take a papyrus stalk.
Chop it in pieces and soak them in water.
When soaked slice them thinly
and roll them out to get most of the moisture out. Traditionally I imagine they used rocks or tree branches to do this step but who knows – perhaps they invented the rolling pin.
These strips are then placed in a woven fashion until a full sheet is made. (Another tradition can be seen in the background – the welcome to my place hibiscus tea.)
It is then put in the press for around a week.
And on completion a piece of papyrus that is both thin
We were then invited to peruse the painted papyrus and buy with a certificate of authenticity that our purchase had been made from papyrus in the traditional manner. Often in the market place apparently the papyrus sold is in reality made from a banana leaf.
Thank you to Terri who hosts Sunday Stills.