The Chinese during the Han dynasty appeared to be the first to use papier-mâché around 200 AD, not long after they learned how to make paper. They employed the technique to make items such as warrior helmets, mirror cases, snuff boxes, or ceremonial masks.
In ancient Egypt, coffins and death masks were often made from cartonnage—layers of papyrus or linen covered with plaster.
Middle and Far East
In Persia, papier-mâché has been used to manufacture small painted boxes, trays, étagères and cases. Japan and China also produced laminated paper articles using papier-mâché. In Japan and India, papier-mâché was used to add decorative elements to armor and shields.
In Kashmir as in Persia, papier-mâché has been used to manufacture small painted boxes, bowls lined with metals, trays, étagères and cases. It remains highly marketed in India and Pakistan and is a part of the luxury ornamental handicraft market.