The secret of making silk paper has been lost with time, but Samarkand masters managed to restore the whole laborious process of its manufacture. Silk paper workshop “Meros” is located in the Koni Gil area of Samarkand. The workshop artists use traditional methods, including a watermill again.
The process of making silk paper
Silk paper is traditionally made from one-year mulberry twigs. One-year-old branches are cut off and soaked so that the bark comes off easily. Afterwards, twigs are boiled for several hours. The resulting mass is thoroughly crushed further by regular strokes of the wood beam until a pulp is formed. After adding water, the fibres are collected with a special sieve, resulting in a sheet of paper. The paper is first kept under a press and then dried. Finally, the paper is polished by hand with the help of a seashell or an agate. It gives it the shine. Because of its gloss, the paper owes its name—Silk Paper; silk is not used in its creation.
According to artisans involved in this industry, the paper is distinguished by its smoothness, durability and pleasant tone colour to the eye (slightly dull) that does not tire the eyes when reading.
The paper was not only used for writing manuscripts but also for miniature paintings and calligraphy. Local miniature painters and calligraphy artists continue to make their products on silk paper.
Since 2019, the workshop has been producing sesame oil. The sesame oil production takes place with the help of water power; a large grinding mill is driven via a simple structure, which presses the oil out of the seeds.
You can see all stages of the production process in the workshop, where you will be guided in English or Russian. There is a souvenir shop on-site, which offers various silk paper products.
There is also a small garden on the territory of the workshop. Flowing water combined with lots of trees creates a refreshing atmosphere where you can take a break on a hot day.