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    (4) What is amatl?

    Bark Paper


    Amatl is a form of paper. Amatl is the Nahua word for both paper and fig tree but any type of Ficus may be used to make Amatl paper. This connection between the trees, bark, and paper can be traced in pre-colonial times through tree names (Texcalamatl) villages who manufacture paper (Amapala) and villages named for bark fibers (Amazonco).  (167)  Because much of this paper is made from bark, amatl is also sometimes called “bark paper.”  Today, the word for this bark paper is Amate. Some of the Ficus trees have been considered sacred and were not used for paper production.  The demand on the remaining trees within the San Pablito territory due to commercialization led to a major depletion in the Ficus trees. (Binnqüist 164)

     

    Above is an image of newly made bark paper from: http://thusihaveseen.squarespace.com/thusihaveseen/tag/bark-paper