Paper is a thin material produced by pressing together moist fibres of cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets.
It is a versatile material with many uses, including writing, printing, packaging, cleaning, and a number of industrial and construction processes.
The pulp papermaking process is said to have been developed in China during the early 2nd century AD, possibly as early as the year 105 A.D., by the Han court eunuch Cai Lun, although the earliest archaeological fragments of paper derive from the 2nd century BC in China.
The modern pulp and paper industry is global, with China leading its production and the United States right behind it.
The oldest known archaeological fragments of the immediate precursor to modern paper, date to the 2nd century BC in China. The pulp papermaking process is ascribed to Cai Lun, a 2nd-century AD Han court eunuch. With paper as an effective substitute for silk in many applications, China could export silk in greater quantity, contributing to a Golden Age.