|Uchigumo as part of a scroll mount|
Deep in the mountains of Echizen, Fukui Prefecture, Japan, there is a paper-maker who still makes by hand a remarkable paper, the origins of which are over a thousand years old. Iwano Heizaburo is still making uchigumo - Cloud patterened paper. The oldest existing piece of uchigumo paper is part of an anthology, Hōraikiri said to have been copied out during the Tengi era (1053-1058).
To make this decorative paper, a thin gampi paper is first dyed with indigo and then re-beaten into a pulp. Cloud-like shapes of this blue pulp are then applied to a wet sheet of torinoko paper so that they appear as though they are floating along the length of the top and bottom of the sheet. Originally uchigumo was made with only indigo but later papers with indigo-dyed clouds at the top and purple dyed clouds at the bottom became more popular.
|Iwano-san in his workshop|
We have now asked Iwano-san if he could make us some uchigumo which we hope to use as the inner lining of the cover silks for the Shuten Dōji hand scrolls.