aratsuchi 荒土
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
Lit. rough clay. Clay mixed with other materials (known as *susa すさ), such as stone, paper, or plant fibres. Used, for example, for modelling the inner layer of a clay statue. Aratsuchi formed the raw material of earthen walls *arakabe 荒壁. In the case of clay statuary *sozou 塑造, aratsuchi was used to make a rough model of the figure over the central wooden core *shingi 心木. This was followed by more detailed modelling in middle clay, nakatsuchi 中土, and finishing in fine clay, shiagetsuchi 仕上土. This process was not rigidly followed; sometimes not all three types of clay were used. In the case of small statues, for example, the fine clay sometimes was applied directly to the core. However, where the clay body was thick, the process of layering in different types of clay prevented shrinkage and cracks. Aratsuchi consisted of clay excavated from mountain areas, which contained small pebbles. This was mixed with pieces of straw less than 1cm long, warasusa 藁すさ, water was added, and the clay was kneaded. The warasusa had a binding function, preventing cracks from forming as the clay dried. The aratsuchi layer had to be completely dry before further clay layers were added. Nakatsuchi was a clay mixed with mountain soil and contained a large quantity of chaff. This was well kneaded in water and applied over aratsuchi. Shiagetsuchi was a very fine-grained clay containing a high proportion of sand. This was mixed with shredded hemp-paper *mashi 麻紙 fibres known as kamisusa 紙すさ, a water-clay solution was added, and the mixture then was kneaded to the correct consistency. Shiagetsuchi was sometimes applied two or three times to give the exact surface finish required.


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