Evidence based on ancient manuscripts of paper and tad-patra, written with a long lasting and hard wearing indigenously produced black ink, indicates this ink to have been in use for at least a thousand years. The writing in the Dasa Bhumiswara Mahayana Sutras (6th century) and the Astasahasrika Pragyaparamita (10th century) stands testimony to this.
This black writing ink was used in most government offices in Nepal - for official documents and accounts - till the coming of democracy in the state when imported papers and inks came to be widely used since this indigenous ink could not be used for filling fountain pens. However, traditionalists, astrologers, and artists, among others, continue to use the traditional black ink that is still made in Lalitpur. This ink was used for writing and illustrations on harital paper and on the ivory lokta bark paper.
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