asao 麻紵
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
Also written 麻緒, 麻苧, asahimo 麻紐, asa-ito 麻糸. Cord or thread made from hemp, asa 麻, and Chinese silk plant, karamushi 苧むし. In historical records, the expressions asao 麻緒, asahimo, and asa-ito tend to refer to threads made only from hemp, although sources generally were not specific about thread composition. Asao was used in making clay statues *sozou 塑像. Clay modelling was done over a wooden core *shingi 心木, which could be a simple central pole or a complex structure. In the case of a composite wooden core, many small pieces of wood *hegi へぎ, were used to construct a frame, for example in the shape of the figure's robe. These pieces of wood often were bound together with asao. Other statues had a copper wire sandwiched between two thin pieces of cypress to make the inner core of the arms. Again asao was used to wrap the wood and bind it to the wire. Another important function of asao was to wrap copper or steel wire, which formed the inner support, for detailed features like the sculpted fingers of the hand, earlobes, or upstanding spikes of flame hair *enpatsu 炎髪. Clay modelling then could proceed directly onto the asao layer.


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