Manuscripts - The Preparation Process (II)
The process of making tulapat
Tulapat is essentially a paper made from wood pulp. Three kinds of trees were normally selected for the purpose. White tulapat was made from the 'maihai' tree, the dark brown variety from the 'Yamon' and the red variety from a tree the name of which has not been found. The 'Yamon' tree has been identified with the 'hsa' of the Shan people and 'nuni' or paper mulberry in Assamese (Bronsanettia Papyrifera).
The barks of the above mentioned trees were cut up in convenient sizes and beaten thoroughly. This broke the fibres and separated and loosened them. Then these were boiled till they melted and formed into a fine pulp and became cleared of all impurities. The pulp was next poured over water kept in rectangular ditches of required sizes and it floated on the water's surface. It was then evenly spread all over with a scraper to the shape of the watery surface. Then it was left to cool. When cool, the film of pulp lying on the surface of the water gave a sheet of strong and tough paper.
Usually, a tulapat folio was made by stitching two single sheets together or by folding a longer sheet in two and then stitching the same. This was done to give strength to the folios.