Chigiri-e

Another answer to a FB question, this time about the process that goes into making the colorful paper that poetry is often written on, like this 10th century example from the collected poems of Lady Ise:

chigiri-e

The paper is dyed (by various methods: sukizome (adding pigments at the time of production), hitashizome (soaking paper in liquid dye), hikizome (applying dyes with wide brushes), and fukizome (spray-dyeing) or marbled (Suminagashi 墨 流 し), then collaged in a technique called chigiri-e (ちぎり絵). It was (and is) hugely expensive–the washi (mulberry paper) has long fibers and is strong enough to withstand that much treatment.

I don’t know the kanji yet for sukizome, hitashizome, hikizome, or fukizome, which came off of the Tokyo museum website in an English description of an exhibit. These are very specific and technical terms, so they aren’t found in general dictionaries and I will have to dig about a bit to see if I can track down the kanji for the words. The paper I’ve gotten from Nihon Shuji tends to only be simply dyed.

To reproduce this kind of paper would be a major project by itself, certainly!

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