Basic of Japanese Arts and Papercrafts – Washi Paper

by ebazaar 3 August 2010 2 Comments

Washi paper, is probably one of the many basics in numerous Japanese papercrafts and arts.

Washipaper Japanese PapercraftsIt is used as foundation in most traditional Japanese arts and papercrafts, which were applied in rituals and daily life of the Japanese people ever since they knew how to make paper on their own. Washi was developed from the traditional Chinese art of paper-making process, and by using their own method, material and some re engineering of the technology, washi is produced.

The word ‘washi’ itself means Japanese paper. ‘Wa’ meaning Japanese and ‘shi’ meaning paper, indicated the authentic value of it and the term is used until now to describe paper which was made by hand in traditional manner. There are still people in Japan who runs business producing washi traditionally since it have great artistic value in the Japanese society.

How to make Washi paper

Washi paper is generally much more tougher than normal paper made from wood pulp. This is because washi paper is made using fibers from the bark of a tree. The types of trees that is usually used in the washi making process is the Gampi tree, Mitsumata shrub, mulberry trees, bamboo, hemp, rice and wheat. However, with enough processing, it is said that almost all kinds of grass or tree can be made into a washi but the most popular sources are gampi trees, mitsumata shrub and paper mulberry. Due to these many sources, that is the reason why there are many types of washi paper available.

Most widely made type of washi is the Kozogami which is made of paper mulberry. It is well known for its toughness , almost like a cloth and water resistant. Other washi like Ganpishi is smooth and shiny and Mitsumatagami type of washi has fine surface. There are many more types of washi and each has its own specialized uses. Washi is mostly used in Japanese papercrafts and arts like Origami, Shodo and Ukiyo-e. Other than that, it is also used in modern papercrafts and arts like mending of books, household goods, toys and creative papercraft decorations and rituals tools.

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