Patterned Letter Paper Set – Chrysanthemum

A letter set with a chrysanthemum pattern, dyed using the age-old Japanese craft, Kyō-karakami.

£25 per item

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This letter paper set depicting intertwining vines and chrysanthemum flowers is dyed using Kyō-karakami, a craft started in Kyoto during the Heian period (794-1185 CE), which uses wooden printing blocks to print decorative patterns on paper. The original craft known as karakami (lit. Tang Chinese paper), was introduced from the Asian continent during the Nara period (710-794 CE) by aristocrats who used it to write letters and poems. Kyō-karakami uses a unique process to produce patterns with distinctive Japanese designs and colours. Craftspeople start by creating their own dyes with a mixture of seaweed, crushed shells, mica crystals and pigments. They then mark out the size of the paper to the size of the hand-carved wooden blocks while accounting for the differences in their shape and thickness as well as the consistency of the dye that changes according to the temperature and humidity. Using a special sieve the dye is indirectly and evenly applied to the blocks which is then covered by paper one sheet at a time transferring the colour and the pattern, the uniformity of which testifies to the skill of the craftspeople. The same area of the paper is then printed again producing a subtle texture variation that is not possible with modern printing. At the end of the process the paper is allowed to dry naturally.
Letter-writing was an important custom among the aristocracy during the Heian-period who would send each other poems on a piece of letter paper to express greetings, wishes or as an accompaniment to gifts or returned items. People put much care and thought into the pattern of the paper that would best suit their poem and enhance the feelings they wished to convey. The chrysanthemum pattern of this letter paper set contains many meanings such as longevity, happiness, a good harvest and rejuvenation. The chrysanthemum is the national symbol of Japan as well as a representative flower of the autumn season.

Avoid moisture and strong friction as the paint is water-soluble.

Size: L19 cm x W8 cm

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