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Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory in Thimpu · The Last in Bhutan

If you interested in art and art materials, you may wish to include Thimpu's Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory in your Bhutan itinerary.

Jungshi means natural.

Papermaking has a long history in Bhutan but was vanishing from Bhutanese culture and tradition. By the 1980s, the Bhutanese papermaking tradition was threatened with extinction.

In 1990, the Bhutan Ministry of Trade came to the rescue by setting up Junngshi Handmade Paper Factory. The idea was to revive and safeguard the dying tradition of papermaking in Bhutan by exporting its products.

In 1992, Jungshi factory was privatised under the sole proprietorship of Norbu Tenin who was trained in Shimane Prefecture, Japan to design and produce high quality traditional handmade paper for export.

Thirty years on, Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory is still in operation and the only such surviving facility in Bhutan.

Today, Jungshi handmade paper is exported to the USA, Japan, Europe, India and Nepal.

I am glad to visit Jungshi papermaking factory because I love to support dying but valuable traditions, and do my small bit to help extend their existence by sharing about them 

I found the Jungshi traditional papermaking process fascinating.

It begins by soaking tree bark in water in large concrete tanks. 

Jungshi paper is made with the bark of Daphne Papyracea trees which grow at 3000m and above in Bhutan. Bark from Edgeworthia Gardneri trees which grow at 1500m and below is also used.

Next, the bark is boiled in water to soften it.

The cooked bark is washed, cleaned and impurities removed by hand.

The cooked and cleaned bark is crushed and pounded into pulp.

The pulp is then mixed with water and binder. At Jungshi, they use hibiscus root starch.


Thin films of pulp are extracted with bamboo screens stretched on wooden frames.

The thin sheets of pulp film are piled in a water soaked stack. 

Flowers and leaves, etc., may be added to the sheets of pulp for colour and design.

The smooth fluid gliding movements of the skilful workers were like a silent poetic dance.

Water is next squeezed out from the stack of sheets of wet thin pulp by compression.

The thin wet films of pulp are spreaded on heated panes to dry, turning them into sheets of handmade paper.

Handmade paper are used as premium writing paper, art paper, wrapping paper, greeting cards, etc. 

As an organic, all natural product, each sheet of Jungshi paper is unique, has its own personality, and therein lies its charm (in our current age of mass production).

Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory in Thimpu is worth a visit, especially if you are an art fan and appreciate traditional handmade art materials.

Great gift for your art friends. (There's a small gift shop of traditional handmade paper and art at Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory.)

More on my Dec 2023 trip to Bhutan:

History primer of Bhutan 👈 click

Bhutanese "economy rice" in banana leaf - Tomza 👈 click

Chencho Farm Stay hot stone bath and traditional lunch 👈 click

Index Bhutan 👈 click

Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory

Address: Khamtoe Lam SE, Thimpu, Bhutan (opposite the Centenary Farmers Market)

Tel: +975 232 3431

Hours: 9am - 5pm

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Written by Tony Boey on 24 Dec 2023

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