In answer to a question on the Calontir list about period (pre-1600) paper mache:
The Japanese have a kind of roly-poly doll that was made via a paper-mache process. They are called Okiagari koboshi (起き上がり小法師) and date to the 14th century. The term means “Little monk that falls down and gets up again.” The famous Daruma dolls are a form of Okiagari koboshi, although they really became popular in the 17th century (post SCA period). Japanese paper (washi) is well-suited for paper mache because it has very long fibers and is strong even when wet. I know they also made masks of paper and lacquer, which were used for theater (like Noh plays) and religious festivals, but I’m not sure of the date on those. Wooden masks are definitely in period–the paper ones I’m not sure about.
Extra for here: while paper was used extensively in Japan very early on, the “traditional Japanese paper crafts” that we often associate with the Japanese (like origami) usually date to the Edo period (1603-1868). The technology was there, but because there was several centuries of internal warfare during the Japanese Middle Ages, there wasn’t much opportunity to devote time and effort to such crafts. However, during the stability of the Edo period, a lot of different paper arts flowered very quickly. The issue for an SCA person is trying to find pre-Edo examples of certain crafts which may or may not have been done before the year 1600.