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Continuing on, I will now discuss kumogami (also known as uchigumorigami) which can be said to be the king of all Japanese decorated papers. First, a layer of white paper is made and then, on the top part, a layer of dyed pulp is applied on it. Thus, once the sheet of white paper is prepared, another layer of blue paper is applied on sections of it. Here, it is a little difficult to see the colors here, but in this area, an extra layer of purple pulp was added in the vat during the papermaking process. The original sheet would have been larger but it was cut down to this size for use.
Starting from the Muromachi period,around the end of the 14th century, kumogami started
to be used as the formal paper for tanzaku paper strips on which waka poets inscribed their poems at formal waka sessions. An enormous quantity of these were made up until the Edo period, but kumogami itself was in use already in the late-Heian period, in the 11th and 12th centuries, and was widely used in books. Here is a page of a 13th-century book. You can see that both the top and bottom parts are purple, so a purple-only kumogami was used for this book. The book here dates from around the late 14th century
and has a cover made with kumogami. The front cover is blue but the back cover uses purple. Here is another example, a book from circa the 16th century. While this book here has the colored parts at the top and bottom, in this one here the indigo and the purple are on the sides, on the left and the right. Continuing on, this is a book we have already looked at, the title strip (daisen) where the title appears is made of kumogami. So kumogami was used for a variety of different purposes.
Furthermore, depending on the time period, the design of the wave-like pattern and the way the color is applied vary slightly, which means that if one memorizes these differences it is easier to tell when the book was made from the kumogami. One thing to remember is that this purple color is delicate to ultraviolet rays and the color can easily become faded and difficult to see, so one must be careful. Furthermore, there are examples of kumogami made by applying the purple to the paper with a brush not during the sheet-forming process. Additionally, over time, this example here is from the 18th century, kumogami was made using colors other than indigo and purple such as green, or this orangey color here.










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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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