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© Seed Gallery New York

Papyrus, from which the modern word ‘paper’ originates from, is a writing material made from the papyrus plant, a reed which grows in the marshy areas around the Nile river in Egypt. The papyrus plant was long cultivated in the Nile delta region in Egypt and was collected for its stalk or stem, whose central pith was cut into thin strips, pressed together, and dried to form a smooth thin writing surface.

Papyrus was used as a writing material as early as 3,000 BC in ancient Egypt and continued to be used to some extent until around 1100 AD. Hieroglyphs were written on papyrus, carved in stone on tomb and temple walls, and used to decorate many objects of cultic and daily life use. Papyrus was also the standard writing material in ancient Greece and throughout the Roman Empire. Aside from writing, papyrus was also used for painting and for making sandals, rope and boats.



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