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The next method we look at consists in applying color to the finished paper with a writing brush or a paintbrush. This is called hakezome or “brush dyeing”. For example, in this light brown cover here, if we look at it from close by we see the marks of the brush used to paint it, so the brush strokes are visible. This was colored using persimmon extract (kakishibu), which we introduced earlier. It was believed to repel insects. By making repeated applications, a darker shade of brown could be obtained. Then here, the color is added in such a way as to form patterns on the cover. This kind of decoration is called hakebiki (“brush-drawing”) instead of just hakezome (“brush-dyeing”).
Although this coloring technique was used on less elaborate book covers, for their personal amusement, craftsmen still used their creativity to add variety to a task that could easily become tedious. If you look at this book you see that the first volume has straight horizontal stripes, but on this one the lines run diagonally, and then here they form a wave pattern, or, like here, they crisscross, or sometimes they would alternate vertical and horizontal stripes. This variety of different patterns is not rare to come across.





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古書から読み解く日本の文化: 和本を彩る和紙の世界

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