This is the first attempt to have an overall view of the history of handmade paper in South Asia ranging from ‘prehistory’ of paper to the present situation of paper manufacture, based on extensive and intensive fieldworks carried out in 1977-78, 1994-95 and 2003 in various countries in South Asia, West and Central Asia, and in Europe. Researches were carried out on the textual references to early Indian paper, searching into the catalogues of old manuscripts as well as on the actual extant examples now housed in various museums and libraries including old Jaina jnanabhandars and Hindu temples, mostly in west India. In order to observe the present situation of papermaking in South Asia, the author travelled throughout the subcontinent from Kashmir and Tibetan border of Nepal to Kanyakumari, and from Balochistan in Pakistan to Dhaka in Bangladesh, visiting many papermaking ateliers, interviewing the local people who are or had once been involved in this craft. Research results were compiled at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Shimla in 2004-05, and further revised in 2008.
Comprehensive, detailed and strikingly illustrated, this volume will go a long way in highlighting this centuries-old craft and paving the way for further researches on the subject.