Papyrus is an early form of paper first known to have been used in Egypt but was widely used in the Mediterranean region, Southwest Asia, and inland Europe. Originally the processing of papyrus was invented by the Chinese and moved East until the Egyptians adopted it.
It is a versatile material and is used for many purposes including the making of shoes and fuel. Higher quality papyrus was used for important documents and the rougher sheets used for baskets, hats, ropes and even trays.
After the invention of parchment and later cheap paper, use of papyrus was discontinued. Sporadic attempts to revive the manufacture of papyrus proved unsuccessful. The modern techniques used in production now were developed in the 1960’s. Rural households in East and Central Africa still derive their livelihood from this commodity used in manufacturing handcrafts.