Harital Paper

Harital an unusual paper has been in use in Nepal for many hundreds of years. The paper gets its name from harital (arsenic sulphide), a yellow mineral ore that is one of the ingredients that goes into the making of this paper. This archival and manuscript paper has been used for inscribing religious texts and manuscripts, and ancient scriptures, for casting horoscopes, as a base for paintings, and for the writing of documents of import like land records. The base of this paper is the indigenous Daphne (lokta) paper that undergoes complex treatment in the hands of knowledgeable specialists before its conversion into harital paper, which has a thick and weighty texture and a golden hue.

On studying old manuscripts and records written on harital paper in museums and in private collections it is apparent that in spite of its antiquity the paper retains its colour and strength. It is necessary to use special inks on this paper - the most suitable are the locally produced black, gold, and silver inks. Harital paper is also highly valued as it is immune to moths and insects which, along with climatic factors, are the greatest enemy of paper.

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