Washi

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Description:
is a type of paper made in Japan. Washi is commonly made using fibers from the bark of the gampi tree, the mitsumata shrub (Edgeworthia papyrifera), or the paper mulberry, but also can be made using bamboo, hemp, rice, and wheat. Washi comes from wa meaning Japanese and shi meaning paper, and the term is used to describe paper made by hand in the traditional manner.

Washi is generally tougher than ordinary paper made from wood pulp, and is used in many traditional arts. Origami, Shodo, and Ukiyo-e were all produced using washi. Washi was also used to make various everyday goods like clothes, household goods, and toys as well as vestments and ritual objects for Shinto priests and statues of Buddha. It was even used to make wreaths that were given to winners in the 1998 Winter Paralympics. Several kinds of washi, referred to collectively as Japanese tissue, are used in the conservation and mending of books. Washi was developed from the traditional Chinese paper-making process.

Manufacture

Washi is produced in a way similar to that of ordinary paper, but fewer chemicals are used. It involves a long and intricate process that is often undertaken in the cold weather of winter, as pure, cold running water is essential to the production of washi. Cold inhibits bacteria, preventing the decomposition of the fibers. Cold also makes the fibers contract, producing a crisp feel to the paper. It is traditionally the winter work of farmers, a task that supplemented a farmer's......
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