Cai Lun (traditional characters:蔡伦; simplified characters:蔡伦; pinyin: Cài Lún; transcription Wade: Ts'ai Monday), (v. 50 - 121), whose first name was social Jìngzhòng (敬仲), was a eunuch senior official at the Chinese imperial court during the Eastern Han Dynasty.
Cai is a man of famous Chinese history because it is attributed, by tradition, the invention of paper, or at least improving its manufacturing techniques. He allegedly got the idea in the year 105, replacing the old media of writing, ie tablets of bamboo and silk, a paper made from a dough-based bark of trees (including mulberry), flax and hemp.
Archaeology contradicts that tradition. Fragments of paper from plant fibers significantly prior to the time of Cai Monday were found in a number of Chinese sites, the oldest dating from the second century BC. AD Or the beginning of the first century BC. AD.
In view of the paucity of old documents in paper until we reached, we can not say that Cai Monday had a crucial role to a technical point of view, nor from the point of view of a mass production, or even that his time had seen the imperial administration is suddenly put to use most commonly paper.
The Chinese imperial power has been involved in forging the legend of Cai Monday (through an official biography), leading to make a kind of divinity papermakers. A temple in his honour was erected in Chengdu during the Song dynasty (960-1279).
In the current Chinese general public, Cai Monday personifies the role of China in the growth of the paper industry.