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Fabric book covers: kire

Book are not always made only of paper. Book covers, for instance, were often made of fabric. Kire (fragments) are scraps of ancient fabric. In the video, the following types …

Summary of Week 2

Week 2 will have given you an idea of the great variety of decorated papers used in traditional Japanese bookmaking. There are also many less common types of paper that …

Farewell from your educators

Now that you’ve made your way through the course we would like to thank you for staying with us until the end. Watch the video to see Professor Sasaki and …

The World of shita-e

Prior to writing on them, the pages of traditional books were often decorated with painted motifs such as birds, plants, etc. using gold or silver paint (kindei and gindei). Because …

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 …

Karaoshi (embossment)

Unlike regular karakami, in which the blocks are first smeared with paint and then pressed onto the paper, the designs are applied to the paper by pressing it against the …

Sunagogami and Hakuokigami

Although the techniques we have seen so far make use of dyes the main ingredient is still paper. We will now discuss decoration techniques in which mineral materials are mixed …

Kirabiki and Gubiki

In addition to gold and silver leaf, powdered mica (a transparent silicate called kira in Japanese) is also used as a material for paper decoration. When powdered mica is sprinkled …

Karakami

As our last example of paper decorated using minerals we look at karakami (Chinese-style paper). The word Karakami originally referred to paper imported from China (Kara = Cathay) but over …

Mizutamagami

As our final example of decoration applied at the sheet-forming stage we look at mizutama-gami or “polka dots paper”. Mizutamagami is made by adding a thin layer of indigo or …

Cut-and-Paste Techniques

The golden age of paper decoration in Japanese book history was the 12th century, in the final part of the Heian period. At this time, an enormous amount of wealth …

Kumogami

From here on, we will look at various techniques to decorate the paper at the sheet-forming stage and look at books that make use of them. We start with kumogami …

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, …

Suminagashi (marbling)

The last type of traditional coloring method we look at is marbling (suminagashi, literally “ink-spreading”). Watch the video to see examples. Marbling consists in floating dots of ink on water …

Fukizome (blow-dyeing)

Fukizome consists in blowing small particles of liquid dye onto the paper. The intensity of the color can be varied by changing the blowing style, and patterns can be obtained …