Tuesday, January 8, 2013

THE MAKING OF WASHI


"History of Washi
Papermaking was introduced to Japan over 1,300 years ago. The Chronicles of Japan, Nihon Shoki, written in the year 720, state that the Chinese methods of making ink and paper were introduced to Japan by the Korean Buddhist priest, Doncho, in 610. The Prince Regent Shotokufound the Chinese style paper too fragile and encouraged the use of kozo (mulberry) and hemp fibers, which were already cultivated for use in making textiles.
The techniques of making paper spread throughout the country and under his patronage, the original process slowly evolved into the nagashizuki method of making paper using kozo andneri (a viscous formation aid.) These skills that have been passed down from generation to generation produced a paper that was not only functional but reflected the soul and spirit of the maker. This close relationship between papermaker and paper user resulted in washi's becoming an integral part of the Japanese culture.
Traditionally, the making of washi was very seasonal. Most of the papermakers were farmers who planted kozo and hemp in addition to their regular crops. The best washi was made during the cold winter months. This coincided with the season when the farmers could not work in their fields and the icy cold water was free of impurities that could discolor the fibers. The fibers were often spread out on the white snow banks to lighten naturally. Thus, production was limited and unable to keep up with the changing demands.
During the Meiji period (mid-19th Century) the demand for paper greatly increased. Unfortunately, this was the beginning of the shift from washi to western paper and from handmade to machine-made papers. In spite of this change, the strong yet flexible washi is still firmly rooted in the Japanese culture and is still used for special religious purposes (both Buddhist and Shinto), in the production of daily items like toys, fans, and garments, for conservation purposes, and in its most universally recognized function, traditional architecture.
Today Japanese papermakers rely upon washi's adaptability as they try to maintain the age-old tradition of the process while fulfilling the changing needs of society. As new applications are developed for washi, this traditional material is being reinforced into the daily lives of people, not only in Japan but in countries around the world. Through international exhibitions, demonstrations, and workshops, handmade Japanese paper is being rediscovered for its versatility, beauty, and power as an expressive medium appealing to the visual, tactile, and emotional senses." for more info. go to this site, the original source of article....http://store.hiromipaper.com/aboutwashi.aspx



from google image


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