Skip to 0 minutes and 2 secondsThese fragments you see here mounted on hanging scrolls were originally part of religious texts. I hope you can see that, compared to the papers we saw in the previous video, the color is slightly less vivid. That is because in this case the dye was added directly to the fibers during the papermaking process. Here we have some blue paper. It is a famous work known as the “Scorched Sutra of the Sempukuji Temple” said to date from the 12th century. The top and bottom parts were damaged during a fire.

Skip to 0 minutes and 56 secondsHere we have a sutra made with paper dyed purple during the sheet-forming stage and it also dates to between the 11th and the 12th century you can see how feeble the color is. These papers were made with the sukizome method. Because the overall color is rather subtle, there are patches of darker fibers that stand out here and there. This is its distinctive characteristic.

Sukizome

The process of adding the coloring pigment directly to the pulp during the sheet-forming process is called sukizome.

The colors obtained using this method are usually less vibrant. For more vibrant colors, the tsukezome/hitashizome (“soaking”) method is more effective. The video will introduced old Buddhist texts decorated with this technique.

Materials introduced in the video:

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This video is from the free online course:

The Art of Washi Paper in Japanese Rare Books

Keio University