mashi 麻紙
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Traditional Japanese paper *washi 和紙 made from hemp, asa 麻. Originally thought to have been made from scraps of hemp cloth or hemp bark. Considered the oldest paper made in Japan. Its strong, pliant, glossy quality makes it a very high grade paper. Mashi was used for imperial proclamations, for copying sutras, and for poetry. Documents and sutras on mashi paper from Sui and Tang China and from the Nara and Heian periods are still intact. Production seems to have gradually declined after the Heian period, probably due to a lack of raw material and the low efficiency of production. Besides white mashi, shiromashi 白麻紙 there are various other colors iromashi 色麻紙, such as red, purple and yellow. Mashi in a long format (26cmx175cm) is called choumashi 長麻紙.


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