The Yuzen patterns were originally used by the textile industry in Kyoto for the production of cloth for Kimonos. The designs were highly elaborate with the inclusion of a significant amount of gold.

Chiyogami describes paper created in the Edo period. After the second world war, Kimonos were not worn by women and therefore the cloth printing studios started to apply their patterns to paper. Originally these patterns were created using woodblock but they are now silkscreened by hand using a mixture of kozo and sulphite. Nowadays Yuzen textile patterns are commonly described as Chiyogami but both terms may be used. ‘Gami’ means paper and therefore adds significance to the term Chiyogami.

Some of the designs within the Chiyogami papers have special meanings. Those with cranes as part of the design indicate wishes for a long life. Papers that feature pine boughs and plum blossoms show intent for beauty and longevity whereas bamboo symbolizes flexibility.

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AuthorEloise Hall