Hands Making Paper: The Art of Japanese Papermaking

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More than thirty-five examples of traditional paper types from Japan, including the multi-layered, tie and fold dyed, gilt, and printed papers, were displayed for the first time in Chicago in this exhibit. In Japanese, Washi is the name for hand-molded paper. The techniques for using plant fibers to make paper originated in China in the first century and by the seventh century were practiced in Japan. In 1973, to commemorate their own centennial, the Mainichi Newspapers commissioned historians and scholars to produce a commemorative work on Washi. The five-volume set, Tesukiwashi Taikan ("A Collection of Traditional Handmade Japanese Papers") is the result of their work. It comprises an extensive Japanese and English text tracing the history of the craft, as well as almost one thousand full-sheet samples of different types of Washi. The exhibit showcases #887 of this limited edition of one thousand, owned by the University of Chicago Libraries and held in the East Asia Collection.