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Iconography (in stone) dating from the period contains depictions of items thought to be paper.
For example, Monument 52 from the Olmec site of San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán illustrates an individual adorned with ear pennants of folded paper.
Anthropologist Marion mentions that in Lacandones, in Chiapas, the Maya were still manufacturing and using bark clothing in the 1980s.
For these reason, it was probably the Maya who first propagated knowledge about bark-paper-making and spread it throughout southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador, when it was at its height in the pre-classic period.
It remained strongest in the rugged, remote mountainous areas of northern Puebla and northern Veracruz states.
Spiritual leaders in the small village of San Pablito, Puebla were described as producing paper with "magical" properties.
Stone beaters dating from the 6th century CE have been found, and these tools are most often found where amate trees grow.
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Foreign academics began studying this ritual use of amate in the mid-20th century, and the Otomi people of the area began producing the paper commercially.
Otomi craftspeople began selling it in cities such as Mexico City, where the paper was revived by Nahua painters in Guerrero to create "new" indigenous craft, which was then promoted by the Mexican government.