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All the fibrous material, once softened, was beaten into a pulp which was said to be rather like porridge, and the birch leaf extract was added. The great thing about Chai Lun's invention was that his paper could be mass-produced.This 'porridge' was then filtered through a flat mesh strainer made of cloth, leaving the fibres lying flat on the screen. It was also ideal to write on, inexpensive, light and so easy to store and to carry. Keith Ray surveys the four great Chinese inventions that have changed the World.It is an article reprinted from SACU's China Eye magazine (2004).

Xuan paper is used in Chinese painting and calligraphy because of its smoothness and durability, and its whiteness. The second great invention, which goes closely hand in hand with paper, was printing.

Over thousands of years China has produced a great stream of inventions, ranging from the mundane chopstick and wheelbarrow, to sophisticated earthquake detectors and the advanced concept of bank notes.

But in China there are four inventions traditionally referred to as the Four Great Inventions.

During the Tang Dynasty (618-907) the technique spread across Asia, through Philippines, Vietnam, Korea and Japan..

But although it was a great advance, this block printing technology had a serious drawback.

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