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Rōsen and yakie

Rōsen and yakie

Next, we look at other kinds of paper that, like karakami, originally came to Japan from China.

To make rōsen (wax-rubbed paper), gubiki paper (see Step 2.14) is placed on a block engraved with patterns and rubbed with an animal tusk (or other hard object) until the patterns are impressed on the paper. Because the patterns seem to be made with wax (), it is called “wax-rubbed paper” even though wax is not used in the process. Like before, the early examples date from the Heian period but it became popular again in the Edo period.

The yakie (“branded pictures”) technique consists in heating up metal plates shaped with various designs and then pressing them onto the paper. This technique was also used in the Heian period but it is rarer than rōsen paper. 17th century examples are much easier to find.

It is not easy tell the difference between rōsen and yakie from a photograph. The trick is to look at the darker areas of the page (the actual printed patterns) to see if they are glossy. Watch the video to see what they look like.

Books introduced in the video

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The Art of Washi Paper in Japanese Rare Books

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