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Ramonshi and tobikumogami

Ramonshi and tobikumogami

In this Step, we look at two paper types that are created by overlaying thin layers of dyed paper onto a sheet of white paper: ramonshi and tobikumogami.

Ramonshi (literally, “silk gauze-patterned paper”) is created by laying indigo or purple paper material onto finished paper to create a design that resembles the texture of silk gauze (ra). The only known examples of this kind of paper are from the Heian period. To this day, the exact manufacturing method for ramonshi is unclear.

Tobikumogami (“Floating-cloud paper”) is made by laying paper material dyed with purple and indigo in patches on top of the finished paper as to resemble floating clouds. Like ramonshi, the only known examples of this kind of decoration are from the Heian period. During the Edo period, there was a revival of tobikumogami, but the shape of the clouds in these later examples is different from the older examples, and so is the overall feel of the paper. Some say that the older the example, the larger the size of the clouds.

Although both ramonshi and tobikumogami are extremely rare, even rarer are examples of tobikumo paper decorated with ramon patterns and vice versa.

Watch the video to see actual examples.

You can also find some more examples in SEE ALSO section at the bottom of this page.

Book introduced in the video:

  • Ko Tekagami (Small Mirror of Calligraphy), Meiji period.
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