Modern machine–made washi and the implications for contemporary conservation practice

Colbourne, Jane and Hori, Manami (2015) Modern machine–made washi and the implications for contemporary conservation practice. In: Adapt & Evolve 2015: East Asian Materials and Techniques in Western Conservation, 8th - 10th April 2015, London, UK.

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Japanese paper, commonly known as washi, is an important commercial commodity and intrinsic to both Western and Eastern conservation techniques due to its strength, transparency and excellent ageing properties. With modern technology and the slow decline in hand-made papermaking, much of the paper produced in Japan today is machine made-essentially a hybrid of traditional Asian techniques and European influences. How this paper is made and the materials used in its construction are often a closely guarded secret for obvious commercial reasons. Newly developed sizing agents, chemical treatments and the substitution of high quality bast fibres for inferior wood furnishes, are a concern for the conservation profession in regards to possible changes to the papers long- term behaviour, and immediate physical alterations due to the fibres strong orientation towards the machine-grain direction. The article collates and compares the materials and methods used in producing hand and machine-made washi and considers the potential risks and benefits resulting from current innovations.

The study goes into the heart of paper production and distribution in Japan and as a consequence provides new knowledge to Western audiences. It also serves to clarify certain key technical terms which are currently open to a wide variety of interpretations.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Materials, properties and behaviour of machine-made oriental papers; clarity in terminology, Takaokashiki Kensuishiki
Subjects: W100 Fine Art
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Arts
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2016 13:51
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2019 19:43

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