Mask of Vaikuntha Vishnu, late 5th century. Learn more about 5th century masks
Meaning “chewed paper” in French, it is a composite material made of pulped paper mixed with a glue or adhesive paste and other fibrous materials. The term also applies to paper strips that are adhered to or pressed between moulds, or papier-mâché that includes plaster. Its use originated in present-day China, and the technique of crafting objects from it was well-established in Asia over several centuries before being introduced to Europe in the thirteenth century. In Europe, it gradually became a substitute for plaster and stucco in furniture ornamentation, and several finishes were developed for its use. It is now also used in sculpture.