Chiyogami: The Centuries-Old Decorative Art
Takimoto-kan has recently renovated its pathway areas and installed new carpets along the full wall windows. A closer look at the carpet patterns will instantly lead you to see the resemblance of Chiyogami. Chiyogami is popularly known as the Japanese hand screen-printed paper that makes origami, but this beautiful art form is more than just a plaything.
Tracing back to the Edo period (1603-1868), Chiyogami designs were originally developed as woodblock prints. Papermakers from the countryside created Chiyogami to use as interior decorations to enliven their humble home environment. The print patterns were based on bright kimono textiles worn by fashionable ladies from the big cities. Kyoto was especially an inspiration, since it had become famous for its sophisticated Yuzen techniques for fabric dyeing.
Many Chiyogami patterns today are geometric motifs or nature designs like autumn leaves and flowers. Some of the more traditional designs symbolize good wishes: cranes for long life; bamboo for flexibility; plum blossoms and pine boughs for beauty and longevity. The striking colors and neat layouts of Chiyogami also help making it a popular cultural object even today.
With Chiyogami, the creative possibilities are endless. The most common uses for these papers are bookbinding, origami, collage, card making, etc. In recent days, Japanese designers are still tirelessly advancing to create new patterns. We are proud of the traditional cultural values Chiyogami embodies, and we hope to continue the influence of this centuries-old decretive art evermore.