Paper is the material to which eBotteghe wanted to dedicate this month. Its ancient origins make paper one of the most precious elements, because it is light and resistant in its simplicity. China is where it was created and it is in Italy that it spread, thanks to the Arabs who brought it to Spain and then introduced it in our country, around the year 1000.
It was thanks to the Venetian Marco Polo and his famous book, Il Milione, that we discover how the Chinese were the first to manufacture paper, something revolutionary, because it was created by weaving fibers. They were able to obtain it starting from rags, from the bark of trees, from bamboo shoots and mulberry shoots.
Venice, together with the other maritime republic of Amalfi, Prato, Cividale del Friuli and Fabriano, were the sites of the largest paper mills in Italy, and over the centuries they perfected the manufacturing technique, making paper stronger and whiter.
In Venice, paper became more widespread in 1300 and began to be used as an alternative to parchment. The latter was used for official acts and other important documents, while paper, still considered an economic and simple material, was used in everyday life, for work and news.
Nell’articolo Venezia e la stampa, tutto dedicato alle invenzioni e a quanto si debba ad Aldo Manuzio quella dedicata alla nascita del corsivo e a tante novità nel campo della tipografia e dell’editoria, possiamo ben capire quanto la carta sia uno dei materiali più importanti che abbiamo ancor oggi, nonostante la digitalizzazione. E nel 1600, furono proprio queste nuove invenzioni nel campo dell’editoria, che portarono la carta ad essere considerata un materiale prezioso ed insostituibile. Fu quindi la cultura, scopo per il quale vennero creati libri ed altri oggetti importanti per la sfera sociale e dell’innovazione, ad accrescere il valore della carta.
Venice, a city on the water, exploited this resource and the port remained the natural place of collection and sorting of paper. The Serenissima began to invest in this material, so much so that it became the European leader in production and trade, due to the superior quality and excellent price of the product.
For as we know it, that is, the manufacture of modern paper, made from tree bark or splinters, we have to wait until 1800, when the whole process became mechanical.
In Venice there are still many craftsmen who honor paper, use it for various purposes and create unique products. Below you will find some of them.
The sources for the creation of the article are the websites: montanari.racine.ra.it and CartaVenezia.it