Making a Chinese Scroll - Ancient China Project
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Chinese paper scroll

Chinese scroll
Chinese scroll made by kids at
Laurelhurst School, Portland Oregon

Chinese people began to write about 1500 BC. People usually wrote vertically, from the top of the page to the bottom in columns, and read the text beginning from the right side of the page, the reverse of what we do. After they invented paper during the Han Dynasty, about 100 AD, writers in China wrote mainly on paper scrolls.

You can make a Chinese paper scroll by cutting a brown paper grocery bag into a long strip and gluing the ends to wooden sticks. You can copy Chinese characters on to your scroll using a paintbrush and black paint or ink. You can make the scroll look old by burning the edges a little with a candle. Or, try to get a shoulder bone from your butcher (or make one out of clay) and carve characters on it to make an oracle bone.

Other activities:

    * Paper-making
    * Making a compass
   

Bibliography and further reading about the history of paper:

History of Paper
More China projects
More about ancient China
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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